Felex Share Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa is today expected to commission the construction of the $1 billion Hwange 7 and 8 Power extension project as his administration continues to drive the country towards energy self-sufficiency as a key economic enabler. The two units are expected to add 600 megawatts to the power station, whose generation capacity currently stands at 920MW.
The project, which is expected to create hundreds of immediate jobs for Zimbabweans, is being financed through a loan from China Export Import Bank.
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has already started drawing down on the $1 billion facility and work on the ground has begun.
Sinohydro, a Chinese firm which recently completed another 300MW expansion project in Kariba, is also the contractor for the Hwange project.
Zesa chief executive Engineer Josh Chifamba yesterday said all was set for the commissioning of the project.
“All is in place and we are looking forward to this exciting moment,” he said.
“The last time we did investment in Hwange was more than 30 years ago. This is a very important development and what it means for the country is we are putting the correct fundamentals for power supply to support the economy. We expect the economy to experience a boost in the coming years and this is all the foundation we are laying to support the economy.”
Energy and Power Development Minister Simon Khaya Moyo weighed in: “It’s a very important landmark. We are not yet self-sufficient in power generation.
“We still continue to import power from Eskom South Africa and HCB in Mozambique but this is a very determined move to show that we are aiming at self-sufficiency and the groundbreaking ceremony opens the way.
“There are also a number of other independent power producers and we want to accelerate solar projects together with the rural electrification projects.
“We need more power now because there is no doubt industries will be opening and they all need power.”
President Mnangagwa is expected to address the Hwange local community soon after commissioning the power project.
zanu-pf Matabeleland North provincial chairman Cde Richard Moyo said: “If the President’s schedule allows, he will address the Hwange community and all is in place for that. We have made preparations for that.”