Demand for electricity will increase as the economy grows. In fact, electricity demand for 2010 exceeded available capacity by an estimated1,266 MW. Promisingly, a solid project pipeline to increase available electricity capacity exists in the country.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (energy.frost.com), Overview of the Zimbabwean Electricity Industry, finds that the Zimbabwe's electricity available capacity was 1,015 MW in 2009 and estimates that it will reach 1,835 MW by 2014 due to rehabilitation and expansion of the Hwange Power Station and the possible commissioning of the first unit at the Gokwe North Power Station.
"The future of the electricity industry is heavily dependent on the outcome of future elections, economic growth and the adoption of policy that promotes local and international private sector investment, " cautions Frost and Sullivan Research Analyst Vincent Maposa. "There are several electricity industry projects in the pipeline that have not secured funding, and the development of these projects could improve the electricity demand and supply situation within the country."
Availability of electricity feedstock, mining resources and an efficient labour force are positive factors that could help fuel the development of the Zimbabwean electricity industry. For instance, the country has coal reserves that will approximately last the next 200 years at a production output of 5,000 tons per annum and serve as feedstock for coal-fired thermal power stations.
"The Zambezi river, which runs along the Zimbabwe-Zambia border, has hydro potential of 5400 MW, of which only 750 MW is currently being utilised, " adds Maposa. "Furthermore, Zimbabwe has copper and ferro-chrome deposits, which can be used in cable and pylon manufacture and maintenance."
Acknowledgement of the need for and the move towards cost-reflective tariffs will also support market growth. The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) currently charges an average tariff of 7.5 c/kWh which is 25 per cent less than an estimated cost recovery tariff of above 10 c/kWh.
In order to operate viably and minimise the seeking of short-term debt to cover operating expenses, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) holdings needs to charge cost reflective tariffs. The Government of Zimbabwe also acknowledges that in order for independent power producers (IPPs) to operate viably within the industry, tariff levels and power purchase agreements should be set at levels that enable the recovery of costs.
"In the short term, tariffs are not expected to increase significantly as there is strong opposition from the government and civil society, " states Maposa. "However, in the medium to long term, as the billing and revenue collection improves, ZETDC expects to charge economically viable tariffs."
The poor state of existing electricity industry infrastructure presents a major challenge to sustained market expansion. The bulk of Zimbabwe's electricity industry infrastructure is outdated or dilapidated due to theft, vandalism and neglect. The country's two major sources of electricity, Hwange Thermal Power station 1and 2 and Kariba hydro-electric power station were commissioned in 1972 and 1959, respectively. They are in need of technology upgrades to maximise efficiency.
"Accordingly, there is an increasingly significant market for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) given the number of maintenance and repair projects that are in the pipeline, " remarks Maposa. "Generation projects that are likely to lead to a considerable increase in installed capacity are the Gokwe North Power Project, and expansion to Kariba and Hwange power stations."
Transmission capacity expansions for the rural electrification projects are also anticipated in the long term. IPPs are expected to participate more in the long term due to projected regulation and licensing reforms.
If you are interested in more information on this study, please send an email with your contact details to Christie Cronje, Corporate Communications, at christie.cronje[.]frost.com.
Overview of the Zimbabwean Electricity Industry is part of the Energy & Power Growth Partnership Services programme, which also includes research in the following markets:, 2010 Updated Overview of the Namibian Electricity Industry and 2010 Updated Overview of the Zambian Electricity Industry, among others. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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