Kudakwashe Mhundwa Business Reporter
Government expects to begin negotiations this September with developers for the construction of the $4 billion Batoka-Hydro project once engineering documents on the scheme have been completed.
Once completed, the project is expected to produce a total of 2 400MW, to be equally shared between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The project is also expected to raise the share of renewable energy sources in electricity in Zimbabwe from 42 percent to 80 percent.
Secretary for Energy and Power Development Gloria Magombo told The Herald Business that completion of the engineering documents for the scheme are at advanced stages and they anticipate to begin negotiations in the third quarter once the documents are complete.
“The feasibility studies are almost reaching completion. Last week we were in Zambia meeting with the Zambezi River Authority and our counterpart the Zambian Government, we are expecting that the environmental impact studies will be ready by the 6th of March this year and by the end of March we will be receiving the final draft of the feasibility study, engineering and economic study.
“We also have some work which is being done by our legal and transactional advisors which we also expect to come towards the end of March, so that by September we expect to have started negotiations with the developer, but we need all these documents before we go into negotiations with the developer,” said Dr Magombo
Zimbabwe and Zambia recently short-listed three developers who include Salini Impregilo of Italy — a joint venture by China Three Gorges Corporation, China International and Water Electric Corporation — China Gezhouba Group Company Limited and a consortium of General Electric of USA and Power Construction Corporation of China.
Dr Magombo also highlighted that the project is also soon expected to go into the next phase which is procurement.
“We expect that the project will be going into the next phase of procurement,” she said.
Electricity generation is one of the top priorities for the new administration as it is a catalyst toward re-industrialisation.
The country’s economic blueprint, the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), prioritises investments in power generation, transmission and distribution networks.
Several other energy projects have been lined up, including the Hwange 7 and 8 expansion project, which commenced last August. The project comprises two units of 300MW each and will cost a staggering $1,5 billion. The expansion project is on schedule to be completed within 42 months.
Government is also working closely with India to catalyse the long-stalled Bulawayo Thermal Power Station project.
ZPC had secured an $87 million line of credit from Exim Bank of India back in 2015, but with additional credit now coming from the Indian government, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) process is now underway.
The Exim Bank of India is currently prequalifying bidders, which will pave way for commencement of works.