Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has expressed interest in assisting with viable financing options to potential Independent Power Producers (IPPs) seeking to raise capital for power generation projects.
Energy and Power Development, Advocate Chasi, who was represented by his deputy Magna Mudyiwa during an inter-ministerial roundtable discussion at Mine Entra in Bulawayo, said yesterday that the stock exchange has expressed keen interest in offering various financing options to IPPs.
“In the bid to attract investment in the energy sector, I have met with the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange chief executive officer, Mr Justin Bgoni, who has expressed considerable interest in aiding the process of offering viable financing options to potential IPPs through green bonds, dual listing and prescribed asset status,” he said.
“Through this partnership with them, IPPs will not only be able to get working capital for solar plant, for example, but also manage to grow that business with most investors being known to prefer investing in green energy.”
Early this month, Adv Chasi said Government was considering revoking licences of IPPs failing to roll out their projects to reduce the power deficit affecting the country. Adv Chasi told those interested in the initiative that ZSE will be hosting an IPP Masterclass next month where various policy makers including himself, financial services sector, energy sector players, regulators and insurance services sector among others will attend to discuss and offer guidance to those willing to participate in power generation on a small-scale.
The minister pointed out that the country was in a dire situation as far as power generation was concerned and the challenge required concerted efforts by all stakeholders in order to improve electricity supply.
Investment in solar as an IPP, Adv Chasi said would present various benefits as the sector has little competition. At present, Zimbabwe has only 13 IPPs, which are generating for their own use and contributing only 10 megawatts to the national grid.
Against this background, Adv Chasi said there was potential for growth and that other private players in various sectors of industry have begun installations of rooftop solar. Econet Wireless, Kefalos, Schweppes and Surrey Meats among others have pioneered the adoption of this alternative energy approach.
Demand for power is around 2 000MW but due to ageing equipment, existing power plants are generating far below the national requirement prompting the Government to embark on extension works at its major power stations.
The country imports at least 50MW daily from Eskom of South Africa and 100MW from HCB of Mozambique to meet the supply gap, but can access up to 450MW from the two regional power utilities if it pays off its arrears, which amount to more than US$80 million.— @okazunga.