Haraere – Matshela Koko is CEO and founder of Matshela Energy a South African energy producing company which has been licensed to produce solar energy in a deal worth $250 million.
The 100 mw solar plant will be located in Gwanda, details which invoked thoughts of a failed deal between ZETDC and Wicknell Chivhayo’s Intratek.
Zimbabwe presently faces acute power challenges and is going for 16 hours a day without electricity in most areas. Business has been brought to a standstill and most mechanized manufacturers have scaled back production.
Matshela Koko however said he will end this misery in 12 months. He said Zimbabwe should expect additional energy from Matshela into its power grid by September 2020.
Responding to Sunday Mail, Koko said he has assembled the best team of global experts to work on the project and that the team will begin work shortly on the site.
Koko also sought to allay the fears of yet another “Wicknell moment” where state funds will be swindled in botched deals. He said the project will be 100% funded by Matshela and not ZETDC as was the case with Intratek.
While the promise of electricity solutions may bring hope to a nation on the brink, Zimbabwe’s power needs run deeper than Matshela could solve. National demand is estimated at circa 1500 MW which puts Matshela’s contribution assuming full production at 8%.
Current production at Kariba which is the main feeder into the main grid is below 300 MW. This can only improve if water is properly harnessed in the coming rain season. Indications of drought however reduces the projected water levels.
Likewise the ongoing forex challenges hamper the ability to import power. Electricity imports are presently aaveraging $3 million from a 2017 high of $17 million a month.The economy has no present capacity to meet energy imports which are heavily subsidized.
The subsidy would mean government expenditure increases thus impacting envisaged deficit levels. Imports can only be restored if government clears or restructures debt with creditors before repricing tariffs to near economic levels.
It is also likely that with these developments in the economy, the cost of power will soon go up and this would affect affordability as well as inflation.
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