Zimbabwe - Old Mutual Zimbabwe recently revealed its intention to construct solar power plants with a capacity to generate at least 50 megawatts of electricity. Old Mutual Zimbabwe chief investment officer (Alternative Investments) Benjamin Sithole said this to delegates attending Zimbabwe’s first green investments catalyst roundtable conference in the country’s resort town of Victoria falls.
The projects will entail the construction of two solar power plants in the towns of Gwanda and Chipinge, as well as installing solar panels on rooftops of Old Mutual Zimbabwe’s properties countrywide.
According to Zimbabwe’s daily, The Herald, Sithole told delegates at the conference that the solar power plants projects were at a very advanced stage and that Old Mutual Zimbabwe should be signing some of the contracts with technical partners before end of 2017.
However, Sithole did not disclose the amount of investment that Old Mutual Zimbabwe has earmarked for the projects.
In August 2017 Old Mutual Zimbabwe commissioned a US$5.7million mini-hydro power plant in Chipinge.
The Herald also stated that the two day investor roundtable conference aimed to discuss ways in which Zimbabwe could develop a framework to enable the issuance of financial instruments that could be used to raise capital to finance projects considered to have less impact on climate.
Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet and chairperson of a high level committee on climate change, Ambassador Bornface Chidyausiku, also addressed delegates at the same conference. He told delegates Zimbabwe should come up with policies to enable the establishment of a green loan and bond framework to raise funding for projects with less negative impact on the climate to help meet its climate goals.
Other presenters at the Victoria Falls forum concurred that while Zimbabwe had several opportunities to attract green capital, the government should come up with investor friendly policies and work on normalising relations with the international community and potential up takers of green bonds.
Zimbabwe which is a signatory to the Paris Agreement has recently shown a desire to include renewable energy in its power mix.
In September 2017 the government of Zimbabwe secured US$154 million for the repowering of its small thermal power stations and was planning to spend over US$151 million to build several mini hydro-power stations.
Investments in solar and mini hydro-power plants are a welcome effort to increase power generation in a country currently facing an almost two decades’ long electricity challenge which has seen lengthy power outages becoming a regular occurrence.
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