HARARE: SADC must step up efforts to attract investment in the energy sector as the region continues to face energy shortfalls, a Cabinet minister has said. Energy and Power Development Minister Retired Lieutenant-General Mike Nyambuya has said pooling resources was the best way towards attaining set targets to expand energy sources.
"We need a more radical approach to investment if we are to meet the targets we have set ourselves in expansion of energy sources," he said. "Pooling of resources in regional investment is our best option."
Rtd Lt-Gen Nyambuya was opening the SADC Ministers of Energy and senior officials meeting in Harare. He said Sadc member states should harmonise their energy policies in the wake of impending electricity shortages in the region.
The minister said the meeting should come up with recommendations on how the regional energy policies could be harmonised.
"This meeting comes against a backdrop of a critical impending regional electricity shortfall. As senior energy officials, you have a responsibility of coming up with recommendations on how to address the regional energy challenges..
He said the impending power shortfall was a result of the region's power demand outstripping supply. Rtd Lt-Gen Nyambuya said over the past few years, the region had witnessed the expansion of electricity demand, which was not matched by a corresponding growth in energy supply. The shortfalls, he added, would vary from country to country, with Zimbabwe expecting a shortfall of between 400 and 500 megawatts.
The minister said the meeting should also discuss and come up with recommendations on the status of power generation and transmission projects to address the Sadc energy shortfalls, ongoing various rehabilitation of generation projects, the ongoing inter-connector projects to integrate power utilities and the implementation of the regional regulatory framework. He said the meeting would also review the status of the petroleum and gas industry in the region.
Rtd Lt-Gen Nyambuya said the meeting was being held at a time when Zimbabwe had made some major strides in improving the energy sector. For example, plans for the rehabilitation of Hwange Power Station had reached at an advanced stage, he told delegates to the summit.
Regarding institutional structures, Rtd Lt-Gen Nyambuya said Zimbabwe had succeeded in separating the generation and distribution functions through the unbundling of power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.