Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) will commence re-powering project for Harare Power Station (generator number 2) in the first quarter of this year in a development that will add 60 megawatts to the national grid and further cut imports.
This comes after the US$533 million Kariba South Power Station extension, which was completed in March last year added 300 megawatts to the national power grid, whittling daily electricity imports from an average of 450MW to just 50MW.
Zimbabwe’s peak period demand stands at 1 600MW against internal generation of 1 400 – 1 500MW, but with the economy currently subdued, Government continues to invest in building capacity as demand will grow when the economy recovers.
Current investment in building internal power generation will stabilise domestic power supply, make Zimbabwe self-sufficient on power, build excess capacity to export and save the country significant amounts of much needed foreign currency.
ZPC, the generation unit of State power utility ZESA, is implementing the re-powering project.
ZPC project manager Emmanuel Manyau told a parliamentary portfolio committee on mines and energy, which toured Harare Power Station yesterday for familiarisation, that the project was ready to start after ZPC had secured a $176 million loan.
However, Mr Manyau said out of the US$176 million secured from Afreximbank, only US$52 million had been earmarked for the Harare Power Station re-powering project while the balance is meant for Hwange Power Station 7 and 8 extension.
Mr Manyau said the project will require US$104 million, but the construction contract with Jaguar Overseas of India, whose officials were in the country recently to discuss implementation following financial close, will cost US$70 million.
It is expected that the re-powering project will take two years to complete, barring unforeseen challenges since the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract was already in place after an agreement signed with Jaguar Overseas of India in 2014.
Apart from reducing the country’s need to import power, the Harare Power Station re-powering project will enable the country to reduce internal power deficit, improve efficiency and reliability.
“Our objective is to revive Harare Power Station number two. Currently, we have Harare Power Station 3, and that is the one that is operational. Harare Power Station number 2 (was) de-commissioned (in 2014), so that is where our project is focused.
“This project is ready to commence, why do I say so? The feasibility study has been done, generation licence has been acquired, we have signed an EPC contract with Jaguar, we do have an environmental impact assessment from EMA (and) a water supply agreement was signed with ZINWA for the steam turbines,” Mr Manyau said.
The scope of the re-powering project involves replacement of nine chain grate boilers with new technology, which is called circulated fluidised combustion boilers.
The new technology will add two boilers, which will replace the nine boilers.
Each of the boilers will have capacity of 30 megawatts and the new technology comes with advantages of its own, which is the reason the power utility resolved to adopt it.
Mr Manyau said the new technology of the boiler system had higher efficiency, meaning ZPC can use both high and low quality coal at the thermal power station.
The other advantage is flexibility in terms of fuel; these types of boilers are flexible in the type of fuel that they can work with. They can work with high quality and the poorest of quality, which allows us to get fuel from the various local mines.
The system produces low sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, which are harmful substances and major issues in terms of environmental concerns or pollution.
Part of the scope of the re-powering project entails refurbishment of turbines and generators, which will not be changed after a life assessment that was done indicated refurbishment could add 15-20 years on the life of the generators and turbines.
“So it was cost effective to keep them, a total of four; two are 10MW and other two 20MW to make a total of 60MW. Our projected start date, we are projected to start within the first quarter of 2019 and we are also projecting to end, all things being equal in the first quarter of 2021,” Mr Manyau told the parliamentarians.
“We anticipate that this project will provide an improvement in generation, which will in turn close the deficit that we have in our supply and demand of power.
“As you know we do have a (power) deficit, so this (re-powering) project for 60MW will significantly cover the deficit that we have, especially if you look at the peak time deficit.
“We will be able to have our (power) station running as base load.
“We also anticipate creation of employment and this is obviously during implementation of the project as well as well as after the project has been fully implemented and Harare 2 Power Station is now running we will require more people to man it.”