Felex Share Senior Reporter
THE zesa Holdings board has ratified the 200 megawatts Dema Emergency Diesel Power Project, paving way for installation works to begin.
Sakunda Holdings won the tender to install the plant.
This comes as local electrical equipment manufacturer Helcraw Electrical (Pvt) Limited has secured $120 million from the African Import and Export Bank for the construction of another emergency power plant in Mutare.
The Mutare plant is expected to add 120MW to the national grid.
Government classified the projects as “urgent” as it works on other big projects under Zim-Asset to arrest power shortages bedevilling the country.
The Dema plant is expected to start generating electricity in the next 12 weeks, in time to meet the winter peak demand. “The negotiations have now been finalised, and the necessary approvals granted. The project will commence soon,” said zesa spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira yesterday.
“It is expected that the project will be completed within 12 weeks from the implementation of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and is expected to start generating electricity by June 2016. Negotiations for the establishment of the Dema Emergency Diesel power plant started in December 2015 and as a result of the need for due diligence to ensure the smooth execution of the project for such an important project between zesa and Sakunda, such negotiations are of necessity , but often very slow.”
Countries such as Mozambique, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia have gone the route of the emergency power plants, in most cases renting diesel powered generators to alleviate power shortages. The country’s power crisis, that has been worsened by decreasing electricity generation at Kariba Power Station due to diminishing water levels in Kariba Dam. The station is generating about 285MW against a generation capacity of 750MW.
Mr Gwasira said the emergency plant would complement other power imports being carried out to ensure there was no load shedding.
He said while emergency plants were expensive to run, the project was the earliest zesa could deliver.
“Diesel plants by their nature come at a premium tariff, just like the generators in our homes, but the tariff will be managed by the architecture of the plant as it is an emergency plant, and perhaps more importantly, by a mix of concessions which the shareholder has granted the project to make the tariff more affordable,” Mr Gwasira said.