Global boom drives energy investors to Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) has attributed the influx of potential investor inquiries in the energy sector to the global boom in demand for energy as 68 percent of the projected investment value for all licences issued in the second quarter of the year were from the energy sector.

In its second-quarter report, the investment agency said the energy sector had the projected value of investments worth US$723,91 million from 12 investors and mining had US$208,9 million from 66 investors.

The highest projected investment in the energy sector was from Zhongjin Heli Energy (Pvt) which proposed to bring US$400 million towards coal mining and thermal power generation in the Matabeleland North province.

“The global boom in demand for energy has seen an increase in the number of investor inquiries into the sector. In Q2 2023, 68 percent of projected investment value for all licences were issued in the energy sector. The highest projection for investment was from Zhongjin Heli Energy (Pvt) which proposed to bring US$400 million towards coal mining and thermal power generation in the Matabeleland North province.

“This is expected to eventually lead to increased power generation and reduction of the power supply deficit should all the projects be implemented as planned,” says the report.

In 2021, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority said it received an application from the independent power producer, Zhongxin for a licence to establish a 50 megawatt coal-fired thermal power plant in Hwange District.

The project also includes the construction of approximately 15km of 88(132)Kv Double Lynx line from the thermal plant to the existing Hwange 330/88Kv/33Kv substation.

The energy watchdog said the licence application was done in terms of Section 42 and 46 of the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19).

The country is steadily moving towards energy sufficiency which will eliminate load shedding as local generation and imports now meet daily demand of almost 2 000MW. The coming in of the Unit 7 and 8 in Hwange which are undergoing technical commissioning ahead of commercialisation is vastly improving the power situation.

Built at a cost of about US$1,5 billion, the Hwange Thermal Power Station Unit 7 and 8 expansion, is one of the Second Republic’s signature projects aimed at boosting power generation.

Unit 7 and 8 will provide a combined 600MW to about 1 400MW being produced from major thermal and hydro projects.

It is one of the flagship projects being implemented under the Second Republic in line with Vision 2030, which aims to transform Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy.

When fully commissioned, the project will help Zimbabwe reduce electricity imports and ease power cuts, which will drive increased industrial production as there will be guaranteed electricity supply, a key economic enabler and driver towards realisation of national goals in line with Vision 2030.

Before the expansion project, Hwange Power Station had an installed capacity of 920MW and the addition of 600MW from Units 7 and 8 will take the installed capacity to 1 520MW.

ZIDA chief executive officer Mr Tafadzwa Chinamo said the investment agency is committed to continue to contribute to the improvement of timelines to receive and process investor applications and provide continuous aftercare, which will create an almost seamless platform that allows investors to be onboarded quickly into the country.

He added that the drive to improve the ease of doing business is key and at the core of the success of investment into the country.

The report noted key projects under progress include the processing of Xintai Resources (Pvt) Limited application for the designation of Power and Metallurgical Special Economic Zone in Beitbridge.