Kariba South expansion now 40pc complete

Kariba-South-hydropower-plantGolden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
Construction work on the 300 megawatt capacity expansion of Kariba South Power Station is now 41 percent complete, Zimbabwe Power Company has said.

ZPC said the project is progressing well with adit, a horizontal passage into a mine for purposes of access or drainage, excavations completed while the manufacturing of electro-mechanical equipment is already underway in China.

“Some of the equipment has already been delivered to Kariba for example, the crane rail was delivered in January and is being installed in the turbine house,” ZPC said.

Further, Zesa Holdings generation unit, said the draft tube material has also been delivered to site and is being assembled at the project site, which is Kariba South Hydro Power Station.

Chinese firm Sino Hydro won the Engineering Procurement and Construction contract for the extension of Kariba South, which is expected to come on line in early 2017 while the whole plant should be on the national grid end of 2018.

The Chinese firm also landed the EPC contract for the 600MW expansion of Hwange, which is producing an average of 500MW from installed capacity of 920MW as it is old, with ZPC now working on the conditions precedent before the first draw down on the loan from China Eximbank.

Kariba South, will resume production of more and the cheapest electricity in Zimbabwe once water levels at Kariba Dam rise.

It is expected that with onset of heavy rains upstream of Zambezi, lake levels will rise, but only moderately by about 1,3 metres, to add to the 1,65 metre lake level, the minimum draw down level when generation of power has to be stopped.

Kariba South and Kariba North power stations may not generate power if water levels fall below draw down level, which has head room of 1,65m and can last about 156 days at average generation levels of 285MW by both utilities.

While the lake water may still cover vast swathes of land usable for other activities such as fishery and adventure, it cannot be used

for power generation when the lake water falls below draw down level of 474 metres above sea level.

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  • Simbai

    At least it has been widely recognised the Kariba South expansion may never be fully utilised if perennial drought and more frequent El Nino occurrences could be part of permanent weather changes and global warming, making all the more imperative alternative reliable large scale energy generating sources must be rapidly constructed.
    Let’s hope access to loans from China Eximbank for Hwange and other potential projects have not been damaged after Chinese diamond interests have been thwarted in Marange?