The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) says it is making considerable progress in various projects that it is implementing to alleviate power shortages in the country.Zimbabwe generates below 1 500 megawatts against a peak demand of over 2 000 megawatts, leaving the country to supplement the deficit with imports from regional power utilities.This has prompted government to build new power stations as well as expand existing ones to bridge the power deficit.
In an update, ZPC managing director Noah Gwariro said expansion projects were a key priority for the ZPC, highlighting that some equipment to expand K0ariba South, for example, had already been delivered and was being installed.
“The Kariba South Extension project is progressing well, and is currently at 41 percent from date of implementation. All excavations have been completed, and manufacturing of electro-mechanical equipment is in progress in China,” he said.
“Topographical surveys and geotechnical works for the power plant have been completed at Hwange Power Station for the 600 MW expansion project. Geotechnical works for transmission works are in progress and ZPC is working towards fulfilling conditions precedent to receive the first drawdown of the loan facility from China Exim Bank.”
On solar projects to be implemented in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, Gwariro said feasibility studies had been completed and work was underway to secure financial closure.
“ZPC is also working on re-powering the small thermal power stations. Contract negotiations are taking place for the Munyati re-powering project, and fund raising for the Harare Power Station is in progress.
“Bulawayo Power Station received an $87 million line of credit from the India Exim Bank in October last year and we await the list of pre-qualified companies to be sent to the Government of Zimbabwe by India Exim Bank, thereafter the project will undergo a competitive bidding process through the Government of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Early this week, Helcraw Electrical, the local company awarded the tender to construct a 120-megawatt peaking power plant in the eastern Zimbabwe border town of Mutare, indicated that it had secured a $120 million loan from the African Export Import Bank for the project.
The Mutare plant, whose construction will take 18 months, will be powered by a dual mechanism enabling it to run either on gas or diesel and whose output will strictly be used to provide backup in cases of high power demand and major faults.
Meanwhile, Mr Gwariro said the ZPC was targeting to produce 7.2519 GigaWatt hours of electricity this year.
“This is slightly below the 2015 output as a result of reduced water allocation at Lake Kariba which has curtailed power generation to a maximum average of 475 MW.
“This situation presents an urgent need to mitigate against the water shortage at the lake by increasing and stabilizing the output from the thermal stations through various initiatives which we have put in place.” – New Ziana.