From Walter Nyamukondiwa in KARIBA
The Kariba South Extension Project is now 92 percent complete and on course for commissioning by end of December as Government moves to clear the power deficit.
This is part of an eight-pronged approach to increasing power generation amid indications that about $500 million is being mobilised for the Hwange Life Extension project.
With a daily deficit of between 300MW and 600MW, the shortfall is being reduced progressively. In an interview on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers biennial congress here yesterday, Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge hailed the collaboration between the contractors and Zesa management.
“We are very pleased with the progress so far and to date we know that the Kariba South Extension Project is now 92 percent complete and everything is on course for its commissioning on 24 December, 2017,” said Dr Undenge.
“We applaud the focused work and effort that is being exhibited by the contractor (Sinohydro) and Zesa management that has seen so much progress.”
He said initial challenges of foreign currency to pay suppliers were being overcome with the involvement of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The two new units will add a further 300MW to the national grid.
Zimbabwe has not had load-shedding for the last 20 months, as more than 300MW are being imported to offset the supply deficit. Expansion works and implementation of new projects ties in with regional efforts within SADC to offset the 8 247MW deficit.
This is largely due to lack of meaningful investment in power generation over the last two decades. Zimbabwe’s major investment in the power sector was in 1987 when Hwange Stage II was commissioned.
Dr Undenge said load-shedding is a major cost and inconvenience to consumers, undermines economic growth and suppresses foreign and local investment. The Hwange Life Extension seeks to recondition the power plant and add another 25 years to its productive life.
There are also plans to increase the thermal plant’s generation capacity from 550MW to 750MW. Government is implementing eight strategies including optimising existing generation plants, development of renewable energy and conservation among others.
This also includes guaranteeing production at Harare II and III (40MW), Bulawayo (25MW) and Munyati (30MW) thermal power stations. The Energy minister revealed that tendering for the Batoka Gorge South Bank which will add a further 1 400MW to the national grid will be out soon.
“In terms of the Batoka Gorge project there are feasibility studies that have just been completed, then tenders will be send out. So that process is underway,” said the Minister.
Other projects in the pipeline include the Devil’s Gorge (1 000MW), Hwange Western Area (1 200MW), Tokwe-Mukosi Hydro (15MW) and Gairezi Small Hydro (30MW).
Dr Undenge said the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa was working on incentives to make investment into the energy sector attractive.
“The Minister (Chinamasa) is trying to come up with a regime of incentives so that we make investment into the energy sector by private players more attractive. We need them to augment what Government is doing,” said Minister Undenge.