Natasha Chamba, Business Reporter
GLOBAL law firm, DLA Piper says Zimbabwe should leverage on renewable energy solutions to mitigate against electricity generation constraints and effectively power its productive sectors.
A combination of drought-induced lowering of water levels at the giant Kariba Hydro Power Station and incessant equipment breakdowns at thermal stations, have resulted in severe loadshedding of more than 12 hours. This has seen increased calls for a shift in focus towards renewable energy projects and partcipation of the private sector.
DLA Piper director, Mr Grant Henderson, said urgent measures should be taken to create a supportive framework to entice increased domestic and foreign investment on renewable energy projects.
“In terms of renewable energy, policy should look to integrate and combine domestic investment and climate change policies that help catalyse investment in low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure across the board,” he said in emailed responses.
“The primary objective of any policy framework is to mobilise private investment that supports steady economic growth and sustainable development, contributing to the economic and social well-being of a country’s people.”
Mr Henderson said an enabling energy investment policy should promote transparency, should not discriminate between foreign and domestic investors and should offer protection and allow enforcement of intellectual property and contract rights while supporting public-private partnerships.
Owing to growing interest and investment in Africa, Mr Henderson also called for strict supervision of renewable energy contracts being awarded to several investors in the country. He said the African continent has been making progress in adopting various frameworks towards renewable approaches.
Government through the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) continues to licence private investors to operate as Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in Zimbabwe’s power sector. Despite numerous challenges, Zimbabwe has attracted significant IPPs and continues to do so. As of July 31, 2019, Zera had issued more than 77 power generation Licences and 70 of these are IPPs.
The total capacity of licensed solar projects is about 1 285MW and this includes 5,5MW from operational projects.
Government has also licensed four operational biomass projects with a total capacity of 928MW. — @queentaurus_zw