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Zim-Asset energy projects on course

Expansion of Kariba South Hydro Power Station is 80 percent complete with Unit 7 expected to start feeding 150MW into the national grid in December this year.

In its five-year economic blueprint Zim-Asset, Government identified energy as a key economic enabler and set a target of generating upwards of 3 000MW of electricity by 2018.

The Kariba South expansion project, which is earmarked for completion by March 2018, will add 300MW to the national grid; while another expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station’s units 7 and 8 will bring another 600MW.

The Hwange project has been dogged by foreign currency payment delays for critical equipment. Other Zim-Asset power generation projects are Batoka Gorge which is expected to generate 1 600MW; construction of three 100MW solar energy plants; Gairezi Hydro (30MW), Mutare Peaking Plant (120MW) and repowering of small thermal power stations. Zesa Holdings’ power generation unit — the Zimbabwe Power Company — operates four coal-fired power stations in Hwange, Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare. It also runs Kariba South Hydro. These power stations have installed capacity of 1 960MW. Last Thursday, ZPC was generating 1 060MW from Kariba (520MW), Hwange (526MW) and Harare (14MW); with nothing from the Munyati and Bulawayo power stations.

The completion of the Zim-Asset power projects will make Zimbabwe energy self-sufficient and also a net exporter of electricity. Zesa board chair Dr Herbert Murerwa told The Sunday Mail Business recently that the utility was on course to achieving Zim-Asset’s energy targets.

“The extension of Kariba South Hydro Power Station by two units is now at around 80 percent complete. In fulfillment of the Zim-Asset energy targets, we are promising  that Kariba South Power Station Unit 7 will start feeding 150MW into the national power grid on December 24, 2017,” said Dr Murerwa.

The other unit is set for completion by March next year. Dr Murerwa said upgrading of Deka Pipeline, which moves water from Zambezi to Hwange Power Station, is complete and ZPC is finalising its engineering procurement and construction contract with India Eximbank.

India Eximbank is expected to ratify the agreement soon, having already availed a US$87 million line of credit. Credit lines to upgrade and set up new power stations were secured from China, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, India’s Export-Import Bank, the European Union and the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust. China Eximbank agreed to provide US$355 million for the Kariba South project while ZPC availed US$213 million.

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