Lake Mutirikwi 5mw Power Plant Advanced

Plans to build a 5 megawatt mini-hydro power plant at Lake Mutirikwi have gathered momentum with a local firm behind the US$14 million project now awaiting an independent assessment of the dam wall before actual construction can start.

The project will boost the country’s power supply as Great Zimbabwe Hydro (GZH), which is developing the project, will feed the power it generates into the national grid.

Lake Mutirikwi is Zimbabwe’s second largest inland water body after Tugwi-Mukosi. The power project dovetails with Government’s plans to make Zimbabwe a net power exporter by 2024, which is line with Vision 2030.

GZH plans to recruit hundreds of locals from Murinye and Chikwanda communal lands to work at the project with the firm’s Project Coordinator Mr Hubert Chipfumbu indicating that they had already met the traditional leadership in those areas to get their buy-in for the project.

The project has however been slowed down by current Covid-19-induced national lockdown.

“We recently met traditional leaders from communities around the dam and assured them that we will give locals priority in terms of employment when work starts on our 5 MW power plant that will cost about US$14 million with output being fed into the national grid,” said Mr Chipfumbu.

Dam assessment experts from South Africa, Kenya and Sri Lanka were expected in the country next month to linspect Lake Mutirikwi so that the power plant investment was guaranteed.

“Our insurers want guarantees on the project, so we are bringing in foreign experts who will look at the dam wall to make sure that it is secure enough to house a power plant.”

Mr Chipfumbu said the firm was good to go on the project having completed all the requirements, including the environmental impact assessment (EIA).

“We have completed all the requirements and we are ready to go to the next stage. Our major challenge at the moment is the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced the economy into lockdown.”

GZH plans to build a 22km power line from the power plant to the evacuation point at Lake Mutirikwi where the electricity will be fed into the national grid.

The Lake Mutirikwi power plant will be the first out of two plants earmarked for the province in the near future.

There are also plans to build a 15MW plant at Tugwi-Mukosi, which will is expected to cost US$20million.

Feasibility study for the project has since been completed.

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