George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
The Great Zimbabwe Hydro Power Company has completed feasibility studies on the planned $11 million mini-hydro power plant at Lake Mutirikwi. The plant is expected to augment power supply in Zimbabwe, as it is envisaged to produce at least five megawatts into the national grid.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has already given Great Zimbabwe Hydro Power Company the green light to install a power generation plant at the country’s second largest inland dam. According to ZERA acting chief executive Mr Eddington Mazambani, the project promoters were in the process of mobilising funds, while feasibility and grid impact assessments had been completed.
“The project is expected to cost about $11 million and upon completion it is expected to improve power supply by about 5MW, thus enhancing the country’s security of (power) supply,” he said. Mr Mazambani attributed delays in rolling out the Lake Mutirikwi mini-hydro power project to funding, stressing that most companies had been struggling to raise funding locally and internationally for similar major projects.
He said Masvingo province had the capacity to host a second mini-hydro power plant at the recently completed Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Chivi district. The planned $20 million power plant at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam is expected to produce 15MW, but the project has been shelved owing to funding constraints.
Great Zimbabwe Hydro Power Company first announced plans to install a mini-hydro power plant at Lake Mutirikwi in 2014. The firm was subsequently allocated 0,5 hectares of land by Masvingo Rural District Council at the dam site to build its plant. The firm had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Masvingo RDC for the project to kick-off, but it was delayed by funding challenges.
There are also fears that the construction of the hydro power plant might be further delayed as Lake Mutirikwi’s water levels have been critically low over the past few years, forcing the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to temporarily shelve the release of water downstream.