Zimbabwe, which could not produce enough electricity for the country’s consumption has resorted to opening up the power production for private players to supply to the national grid.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development Partson Mbiriri said that there are a lot of investment opportunities in the energy sector during an investment conference in Harare.
“We have a number of private producers who are already connected to the grid.” said the Permanent Secretary
The country through the Ministry of Energy and Power Development has been persuading investors to invest in electricity generation and other sources of energy in a bid to solve shortages in Zimbabwe.
Mbiriri revealed three major entrances to the energy sector which include petroleum, power development and renewable energy and the following are the opportunities in each of the entrances.
Petroleum is one of the most needed goods in Zimbabwe and investors can participate as either importers, distributors or as retailers (operating service stations). Zimbabwe does not produce petroleum and relies on imported fossil fuels. According to Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) the country imports all its fuels and investors can, therefore, invest in the importation of petroleum into the country.
Investors can also look for investment opportunities into the distribution of petroleum. Zimbabwe has over 500 service stations across the country according to ZERA giving a greater opportunity for investors to grow in the distribution of petroleum.
One can also tap into the retailing business of petroleum. According to estimations, Zimbabwe’s growing population has over 1 million vehicles on road. Zimbabwe’s rural areas and growth points are still developing and it is possible to find places short of fuel, giving an opportunity for investors to grow as retailers of petroleum.
Investors can look for opportunities in power generation. Zimbabwe’s electricity supply is outstripped by demand according to ZERA. This gives an opportunity for investors to chip in and invest. Sources of electricity generation in Zimbabwe include thermal, hydropower, solar energy and wind energy.
Hydro energy can be harnessed on water bodies in Zimbabwe. According to estimates, 5 ,000 megawatts can be harnessed along the Zambezi river and the government is still looking forward to building more power stations. Besides the Zambezi river, there are also over 10 potential sites for hydroelectricity across Zimbabwe which have the potential of producing over 30 000 kilowatts of electricity.
The presence of coal fields in Zimbabwe has given the country a potential to produce electricity out of thermal power stations. The country’s northern parts have over 12 billion metric tonnes of coal. The coal in Zimbabwe has been rated of good quality with calorific (amount of energy) values ranging from 20 to 32 megajoules/kilogram (MJ/kg). This makes an investment in thermal electricity production lucrative.
Zimbabwe is a country that enjoys sunlight and receives sunlight almost all year round. According to statistics the country, that receives an average of 3 000hours of sunshine, has a solar irradiation averaging 20 MJ per square metre. With such conditions, Zimbabwe’s solar power generation can produce valuable returns for investors.
Besides solar energy, there is also an opportunity for one to invest in wind farms. It was discovered that Zimbabwe has enough air blow for wind farms to generate electricity. According to Mbiriri, there are already two wind farms which are supplying to the national grid. Due to the past thoughts that Zimbabwean conditions do not allow wind farms, generation of electricity by wind remains largely untapped.
One can invest in renewable energy in Zimbabwe. Solar panels are needed by the rural people who have no access to electricity in Zimbabwe. Biogas is also needed for cooking both in the rural and urban areas. Investors can consider investing in the renewable energy, which is plenty in Zimbabwe