The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) will today start an around the clock seven-day test run for unit number 8 of the Kariba South, the second generator in the extension project.
The exercise will test performance and functionality of the 8th unit after the extension project undertaken at a cost of $533 million.
Units 7 and 8 will put an additional 300 megawatts to the national grid to add to the 750MW of the original six
The project will be completed on schedule as it has reached 98 percent completion level.
“Progress of work on the project, which officially commenced on 10 November 2014 stands at 98 percent, and in the week before the scheduled 40 months duration for completion, the second and final generating unit 8 will be commissioned and declared commercially available.
“The first of the two generating units (Number 7) was commissioned in December last year, and has since been smoothly producing 150MW,” ZPC said.
ZPC Acting managing director, Engineer Joshua Chirikutsi said: “The project is 98 percent complete and is set to be completed by the planned date of 10 March this year.”
Unit 8 will undergo a mandatory around the clock seven-day test run from the 27th of February 2018 to monitor its performance and functionality before it is commissioned and declared commercially available.
The test-run is one of many technical and contractual requirements ZPC stipulated as quality monitoring and control measures, before the machines can be accepted from Sinohydro of China as complete project deliverables. The existing Kariba South Power Station was built in 1962 with a 750 MW generation capacity.
The new units will increase the power station’s generation capacity by 300MW to 1 050 MW thereby reducing the power deficit, which, hitherto was being taken care of through imports from regional neighbours.
Zimbabwe has a daily power deficit of between 300MW and 600 MW and spends between $7 million and $10 million a week on power imports from Eskom of South Africa and Hydro Cahora Bassa of Mozambique.
Without imports, the country would need to resort to rolling power cuts.
Energy is key to the country’s economic revitalisation, as such; the incessant power deficits have negatively impacted the manufacturing, mining and agricultural sectors, all of which heavily depend on reliable power supply.
Meanwhile, ZPC is also finalising financial closure for the new 600MW Hwange 7 and 8 Expansion Project for which construction work is set to begin this year.
Zimbabwe has embarked on extension projects of current capacity, as no investment went into power generation since completion of Hwange in the mid 1980s.