JOBS JOBS JOBS!: Power producer moves to create 1 000 jobs

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INDEPENDENT power producer, Matshela Energy is targeting to create 1 000 jobs at its planned 100 MW solar plant in Gwanda with 880 000 households per annum expected to benefit from the energy that will be produced.

Matshela is a wholly owned Zimbabwean company focused on investment and trading in renewable energy.

The firm is licensed in terms of Section 42 of the Electricity Act to construct, operate and maintain the 100MW solar power station and associated battery storage facility of 40MWh at Gwanda Timber Farm.

Last week, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) and Matshela Energy signed a power purchasing agreement for the project with officials hailing it as a landmark achievement.

On Wednesday, Matshela Energy managing director, Mr Matshela Koko told Business Chronicle that construction is expected to start in June next year with the critical path being the Government Support Agreement.

“This Agreement is between the Government of Zimbabwe acting through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Matshela Energy setting the terms on which the Government supports the project.

“It is our view that the Government understands the urgency of having this agreement in place. We expect this agreement to be in place by the end of the year. We then expect financial close in June 2023 for construction to commence,” he said.

On projected employment creation, he added, “We expect to create 1 000 job opportunities at the peak of the construction period.”

Zimbabwe is pacing up its electricity generation capacity to keep up with increasing demand in the wake of increased economic activity which the Second Republic is ushering to ensure power shortages do not constrict growth.

Power demand is increasing in tandem with economic growth thereby putting pressure on the country to speed up development of domestic power generation.

Government is encouraging Independent Power Producers to complement its efforts to boost power generation and stop relying on imports.

According to official statistics, the country’s power generation capacity is subdued at around 1 300MW with demand hovering around 1 750MW.

The deficit is met by imports from South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique.

Mr Koko said when the solar project goes live, an estimated 880 000 households will be catered for per annum.

“Matshela Energy will produce 220 GWh of electricity at its Gwanda Power Station per annum and this is enough to meet demand for 880 000 households,” he said.

Since 2010, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has licensed more than 70 IPPs to establish electricity generation plants across the country.

A few have since implemented the proposed projects but are not generating enough to meet the national electricity demand.

In line with Vision 2030, the Government has mandated IPPS to contribute close to 40 percent of the targeted 11 500MW.

On Wednesday, in her post-Cabinet briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said 33,7 percent of the households are using grid electricity while 28,3 percent are using off-grid electricity such as solar, wind and bio-gas.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the construction and refurbishment of power stations as well as implementation of hydro-power projects on dams across the country will increase access to electricity.

“Increasing the use of electricity in rural areas will go a long way in achieving the rural industrialisation thrust,” she said.

The big power generation project that the Government is implementing is the US$1,5 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion which will add 600 megawatts to the national grid.

– Chronicle


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