Chint reaffirms support for Gwanda solar project

Source: Chint reaffirms support for Gwanda solar project | Sunday Mail (Business)

Business Reporter

SHANGHAI Stock Exchange-listed CHiNT Electric Company, the Chinese technical partner for the 100 megawatts (MW) Gwanda solar project, has reaffirmed its commitment to support the initiative, from which the first 10MW is expected within six months from the date of financial closure.

The evaluation of the pre-commencement works had been successfully completed, while the majority of the pre-construction works had been fully executed.

Government has since called for all outstanding issues to the revised project contract to be expedited to allow the project to resume.

The pre-construction works, as evaluated and agreed between ZESA Holdings and Intratrek officials, include fencing, fence way-leave, ablutions, signage topographical survey, borehole siting and drilling, temporary housing and offices, and the geotechnical survey and feasibility study.

CHiNT Electric said it was grateful to Government for the continued support despite the hiccups that had threatened to derail the noble initiative.

In a letter to Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi, CHiNT Electric vice president Lin Bosheng said contractual disputes are common in high-value projects.

“In our 30 years in the manufacture, construction and operation of Photo Voltaic (PV) solar power stations across the world, it has become a common characteristic for high-value projects such as this one to experience contractual disputes and misunderstandings,” wrote Mr Lin.

However, he believes that the overarching and mutually shared objective to produce electricity, which is fundamental to economic growth, has largely been the ultimate arbiter to disputes of such nature.

The countrys currently generates 1 800MW against peak demand of 2 000MW.

Output has been further curtailed by drought, which reduced water levels at Kariba South — the largest power plant — to critical levels.

Government renewed resolve to complete the project, CHiNT said, was a progressive step towards concluding the inconsequential contractual disputes between ZPC (Zimbabwe Power Company) and Intratrek.

“Honourable Minister, we reiterate our position that our role as the technical partners of Intratrek Zimbabwe still subsist and we shall fully co-operate with all potential and identified funders for the project, including ATC (African Transmission Corporation).

“We are further fully prepared to implement the first phase of 10MW once financial closure and a Notice to Proceed with the construction is issued to us by ZPC as the EPC Employer(ZPC),”  said Mr Lin.

Renowned electrical power project consultants, ATC, has submitted a comprehensive revised strategic implementation and financing plan, whose execution will be staggered into 10MW and 90MW phases, while Intratrek will source funding from multilateral financial institutions.

The Chinese firm said it had proposed to implement the project in phases as far back as March 2016 and May 2018, but unfortunately, ZPC was at the time not amenable to the proposal, which has both technical and financial merit.

“We have successfully executed and commissioned numerous Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) projects all over the world, including . . . projects in Zimbabwe for Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), relevant to the rehabilitation works of 15 substations scattered all over the country,” he said.

With respect to the financial securities required in terms of the EPC contract, CHiNT offered itself as the underwriter and guarantor for the provision of the collateral.

The Chinese company believes the Gwanda solar project presented the country with the perfect opportunity to significantly reduce its power import bill.

In a recent letter to ZESA, Minister Chasi said while the initial July 1. 2020 deadline for completion of all documentation of the restated contract had been missed, he expected all processes have been cleared by

Friday last week.

Cabinet approved the new strategic implementation plan for the Gwanda solar project on June 30, 2020 based on the new proposal for the phased implementation plan.

“I am informed that pre-commencement works evaluation has been completed and progress made on the contract negotiations. To this end, I trust that the internal arrangements within the ZESA Group and other issues that will give comfort to the contractor (Intratrek) and funding arrangements are being attended to.

“The security of payment agreements, power purchase agreements, as well as amended and restated agreement should be completed soonest. The commencement of this project has assumed great urgency given the various challenges that this country is facing at the moment,” Minister Chasi said.