Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
THE State Procurement Board has awarded the tender for the construction of the 30 megawatt Gairezi hydro power station to a consortium led by local firm, Intratrek Zimbabwe.
The tender was awarded to the lowest bidder to specification at a cost of $128 million, sources privy to the developments told The Herald Business this week.
“The SPB awarded the Gairezi hydro project tender to Intratrek, Bharat Heavy Equipment Limited and Angelique Consortium, but it must be clear that this was because the tender had to be awarded to the lowest bidder to specification, which in this case was Intratek,” a source said privy to the details of the tender.
The other bidder had the cost at $165 million.
ZPC, a subsidiary of ZESA in charge of generating electricity, was granted a licence for the project last year and feasibility studies for the project had been concluded.
ZESA’s power generation unit proposed to develop the Gairezi Mini Hydro Power Plant on Gairezi River. The project is situated 275km Northeast of Harare and 120km from Mutare, in Manicaland.
Contacted for comment Intratrek managing director Mr Wicknell Chivhayo yesterday said, “With my vision to alleviate the current power deficit before 2018, the success of this project is inevitable at all costs.”
This brings to finality a long running tender first advertised in August 2014 and after numerous extensions, was closed for submission of bids on June 9 2015.
In what showed complexity of the project, out of a total of 84 bidders who initially purchased tender documents and attended compulsory site inspections, only six succeeded in compiling and submitting their bids.
In addition to robust technical submissions and proven track record on the building of small hydro projects, tenderers were expected to present credible funding options to convince the cash strapped ZPC.
In a tightly contested two-stage tender process, bids submitted on closing date were Pito Investments, China Gezhouba/Chongqing Turbines Consortium, Intratrek Zimbabwe, BHEL (India) and Angelique (India) Consortium, Helcraw Investments, Sino Hydro and China State Construction/Dongfang.
After the first round of adjudication, the bids by China Gezhouba ($165m), China State Construction ($142m) and Intratrek Zimbabwe Limited, BHEL, Angelique Consortium ($128m) were adjudged under SPB resolution PBR 0963 dated August 27 2015 to be compliant and proceeded to the second round.
In the final round (Commercial), the accounting officer was obliged, under terms and conditions of the request for proposals, to nominate the most competitive bid based on lowest tender sum.
It is expected the project will take between 25 and 35 months to complete.
This becomes the second major power project Intratrek snapped up after it recently signed a $202 million contract with ZPC for the Gwanda solar project. The Gwanda power plant will generate 100MW.
Zimbabwe is experiencing huge power deficits, negatively impacting on industrial, commercial and domestic activities and ultimately causing indelible damage to the economy, with the country generating an average of 900MW out of a requirement of 2 200MW.
The power situation has been worsened by the reduction of generation at the 750MW Kariba South hydro power plant due to falling lake water levels at Kariba Dam after poor hydrological year in its catchment area. Kariba’s generation has been cut to 475MW.
The falling water levels of the dam prompted the Zambezi River Authority, which administers the river, to lower water allocation for ZPC and its Zambia counterpart ZESCO, which draw water from the Kariba.
Gairezi is one of a number of power generation projects Government, through ZPC, is working on to bridge the country’s debilitating chronic power shortages.
Other projects include expansion of Kariba by 300MW, extension of Hwange Thermal Station by another 600MW, re-powering of small thermals in Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare to add another 300MW.
ZPC is also seeking to develop the Mutare peaking power plant, which runs on dual fuel system that combines diesel and gas to be drawn from Mozambique. ZPC is also working around Batoka, in a joint venture with Zambia’s ZESCO, for another 2 000MW.