|Chinese firm proposes US$3,5bn power plant|
|Tuesday, 18 September 2012 00:00|
A CHINESE firm, Guangdong Bureau of Coal Geology, plans to invest at least US$3,5 billion in building a 1 200- megawatt thermal power plant in Zimbabwe, an official has said. “We came here to observe and study the possibility of building a thermal power plant,” he said this week. “Our proposed budget is about US$3,5 billion for a 120 million watts plant.”
CNACG director general Mr Mu Yong was speaking after his delegation met officials from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion in Harare yesterday.
Established in 1962, CNACG has implemented various power projects worldwide.
Zimbabwe has launched a National Energy Policy which seeks to raise power output to 10 000 megawatts to close its supply gap.
Apart from imports, the country’s power utility Zesa Holdings is producing an average 1 200 megawatts. The power deficit has spawned frequent power cuts to industry, commerce and domestic users. The shortage has become a major obstacle to the ongoing economic recovery. The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority said last week it had issued licences to various large electricity generation projects, investing in 11 new projects with a combined capacity of about 5 400 megawatts.
The projects are valued at about US$10 billion.
Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Tapiwa Mashakada said Zimbabwe required additional power, adding that the planned CNACG investment was “timely”.
“The background to the visit is that we realised that Zimbabwe is in dire need for power,” said Minister Mashakada.
“They are here to explore and possibly establish a thermal power station. Zimbabwe is open for business.”
On the indigenisation and empowerment policy, the minister said: “We apply that law in a flexible manner, especially for big projects.”
The Chinese delegation also visited the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. It is expected to meet officials at the Ministry of Energy and Power Development and the Zimbabwe Investment Authority today.
The delegation will also tour local thermal power stations, including Munyati, Bulawayo and Hwange as well as coal fields in Binga and Hwange.
Analysts have said the country is facing crippling power deficits because the Government has not invested in new power generation since 1980.
Zimbabwe relied on imports, as there was surplus in the region, but growing power demand from the region and the economic instability over the last decade means the country has neither the resources nor guaranteed of adequate supplies from its neighbours.