via Zera gets tough on renewable energy 5 August 2014 by Kudzai Chimhangwa
THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has drafted an independent power producer (IPP) framework which is meant to incentivise and stimulate investment in the renewable energy sector.
This scheme is expected to attract huge investment in the sector and ensure increased access to clean and sustainable energy for economic growth.
The authority has also come up with a Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff (REFIT) programme, which is now awaiting government approval.
REFIT is a policy instrument that makes it mandatory for energy companies or utilities responsible for operating the national grid to purchase electricity from renewable energy sources at a pre-determined price that is sufficiently attractive to stimulate new investment in the sector.
The move is primarily aimed at enhancing the country’s power supply situation as the instrument was developed for renewable energy technologies such as solar PV, solar hydro, biomass, bagasse and wind.
Zimbabwe is currently facing a huge power deficit, a situation that has adversely affected all facets of the economy.
Zera chief executive Gloria Magombo said net metering regulations were expected to be finalised and implemented before year end.
“Net metering regulations allow small-scale renewable energy generators such as rooftop solar photovoltaic systems to feed excess energy into the national grid,” Magombo said.
Net metering is meant to promote small-scale renewable energy generators such as rooftop PV generators to be connected to the grid and provide ability to export or feed in surplus energy into the grid.
This has the effect of reducing bills for the owners of the generators and also reduce load-shedding during the day.
The authority has previously stated that projects less than 100kw in capacity are going to be considered under the net metering programme.
“Zera is also promoting the use of LPG as an alternative cooking and heating fuel ad this is significantly reducing electricity demand thereby saving power for other productive sectors of the economy,” she said adding that the authority had already launched and gazetted the LPG regulations.
Zera has to date licensed a number of renewable energy projects which include Nyamingura Renewable Energy small hydro project (1,1MW), Duru (2,2MW) and Pungwe A (2,7MW)
The latest licensed project is the Nyangani Renewable Energy small hydro-power station in Honde Valley with a total installed capacity of 6mw.
NRE is also developing a 15mw hydro-station yet to be commissioned.