by Wallace Mawire
Zimbabwe is planning to accelerate exploration and development of its abundant energy resources, according to Elton Mangoma, Minister of Energy and Power Development.
According to Mangoma, first in the pipeline is the development of the Lupane Gas project.He says that gas industry experts have confirmed a world class coal bed methane resource at Lupane in Matebeleland province of Zimbabwe.
“Current estimates put the resource at over 40 trillion cubic feet of coal bed methane.We are proceeding to exploit this resource for electricity,” Mangoma said.
He added that his ministry is in the process of establishing the size of generation it can support and an adjudication process is underway to establish a partner and developing a mining plan and a power station.
Mangoma also reports that the country has high solar irradiation averaging 20MJ per square metre.
Mangoma has also disclosed that a generous concession and excellent operating terms are being considered for the Batoka Hydro project between Zambia and Zimbabwe on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis. Zambezi River Authority, a jointly owned company is spearheading the project.
It is reported that a tender for the expression of interest is being finalised and will soon be floated.
The project involves the construction of a dam and a hydro power station on the Zambezi river upstream of the Kariba dam.The potential capacity of the site is 1 600 to 2000 MW.
Mangoma also says Zimbabwe has opportunties available in mini hydro and run of rivers.
There are plans for the construction of a 30 MW hydro plant in the eastern highlands at Gairezi.
“Construction is expected soon and the ground breaking ceremony will be held by the end of November,” he said.
He also added that there are opportunities in the petroleum sector.
Zimbabwe’s pipeline from Beira in Mozambique is said to be operating at almost full capacity now.”Therefore it is necessary to build a second pipeline to augment the existing one,” Mangoma says.
Mangoma says that his ministry is making plans to find ways to capture and use wasted energy.
“We must make greater use of energy saving technologies such as hybrid vehicles and power saving appliances,” Mangoma said.
He added that a research by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) shows that Zimbabwe could save in excess of 200 MW during the morning and evening peak demand if everyone in the country replaced their incandescent bulbs with energy savers.