Red tape stalls $400m project

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GOVERNMENT red tape has stalled the implementation of a US$400 million tri-solar plant deal between Guarantee Risk Solar Energy and South African power giant Exess Africa, businessdigest has established.

BY CHIPA GONDITII

Guarantee Risk Solar Energy chief executive Jonathan Katsidzira this week said his company was still waiting for approval from the government to commence the project.

“Before we brought in the funding, we wanted our stakeholders to understand the concept of battery storage innovations thus the holding of this workshop. Now we are going to accelerate development funding so that we finish the regulatory requirements which should be done by September,” Katsidzira said

“The new dispensation is saying do not rush to say l am going to launch this product tomorrow when you know you have not satisfied the requirements which are needed. These requirements are not a compliance issue.

“You cannot jump that step and that is the challenge we are working on. We have got approval for the other stuff, but we are still working on getting the remaining licences because we need licences from Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Zera (Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority), Ema (Environmental Management Authority) and even the ZETDC (Zimbabwe Electricity and Distribution Company.”

Exess Africa CE George Beukes said they would try to work around the country’s inordinately complicated administrative process so as to ensure the functionality of the project.

“The biggest problem Zimbabwe faces is getting its own stable currency that is properly linked to international markets. Right now, the country is facing its own financial and regulatory problems. Our focus is to try to overlook those challenges in terms of not going forward and seeing how we can overcome those challenges with the hope of creating economic prosperity for the country,” Beukes said.

The company plans to build three solar power plants in Goromonzi, Bulawayo and Harare with capacity to generate 250 megawatts which will be fed into the main grid.

It is also projected that the joint venture will employ more than 1 000 people.

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