Zimbabwe and power utility firms in South Africa and Mozambique are set to construct a 550-kilometre inter-connector transmitter, NewsDay has learnt.
by Nqobile Bhebhe
A grant agreement of $3,5 million has already been signed between the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to enable feasibility studies to begin.
According to a document presented to delegates attending the Sadc Finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Bulawayo, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the 400 kilovolt (kV) high-voltage inter-connector would boost regional power supplies.
“The KfW Development Bank resources have so far been used to finance the project. The steering committee at its meeting of October 2014 approved a grant of $3,5 million to undertake a feasibility study of the Mozambique-Zimbabwe-RSA Inter-connector (MoZiSA) project.
“This is an energy project which comprises the development of a 400kV high-voltage transmission infrastructure over a distance of approximately 550km from Mozambique to Zimbabwe and from Zimbabwe to South Africa,” part of the document read.
It said the grant agreement was signed on April 14 2015 between SAPP and the DBSA, while a total of $500 000 was earmarked for feasibility studies.
Zimbabwe is saddled by a power deficit, producing 1 203 megawatts (MW) against a demand of 2 200MW due to obsolete machinery and limited investment in the energy sector.
About 600 million people, or 70% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population, lack access to electricity.
According to SAPP, southern Africa plans to commission 24 062MW of power between 2015 and 2019 if all proposed projects come on stream.
This development will see the region finally meeting its power needs after several years of shortages.
Since 2007, the region has been facing challenges in meeting its energy requirements, forcing most Sadc member States to implement demand-side management policies such as load-shedding that have to some extent succeeded in restraining overall electricity demand in the region.