‘Kariba hydro power project on course’

Source: ‘Kariba hydro power project on course’ | The Herald June 16, 2016

Golden Sibanda in Kariba

CONSTRUCTION work at the Zimbabwe Power Company’s Kariba South Power Station’s generation capacity extension is 50 percent complete with some key aspects of the project nearing completion. ZPC projects manager Endmond Mukahadira told journalists during a tour of the hydro power plant’s $533 million capacity extension that the project was on course to start power generation by December 2017.Extension of the 750 megawatt power station will add another 300MW to the national grid and is being undertaken to bridge the huge power deficit between demand and supply in the country.

Mr Mukahadira said overall project completion, which entails on site and off site electrical and civil engineering works had now reached 48 percent completion with a total of 1 200 local and foreign workers involved.

Construction of the power house is now at 12 percent, a total of 3,1 kilometres has been excavated in terms of tunnelling, while the overall progress of the concreting works has now reached 37 percent, Mr Mukahadira said.

Mr Mukahadira said that the electromechanical works included offsite works entailing manufacturing of equipment in China had also covered significant ground.

The overall project, which started in 2014, is anticipated to take 14 months and is scheduled for completion around mid to end of March 2018.

“The overall project completion is now 48 percent as of the 25th of May and we are now moving towards 50 percent. At the end of this month, we would have reached 50 percent completion,” he said.

“Some of the equipment has already been delivered on site. Instation has already been completed for the 2 by 250 tonnes cranes. The first unit goes on line on the 24th of December 2017 and the second on March 18, 2018.”

Chinese company, Sino Hydro, won the contract to construct the power station at an engineering, procurement and construction cost of $354 million, but other attended expenses such as consultants, equity contribution, interest and statutory costs of the will see total cost rising to $533 million.

Energy and Power Development secretary Partison Mbiriri, who was the guest speaker said that demand for power in the country had gone down from an average of 2 200MW in the last few years to 1000MW-1 600MW.

The station, whose capacity was affected by low lake water levels, can maintain its current output to the end of the year as Kariba Dam water levels, live water usable for power generation, have improved 33 percent from 29 percent in January, but still lower compared to 43 percent in the same period last year.

However, demand for power has been declining in recent years due to the deteriorating economic conditions, which saw the country’s gross domestic product being decimated by 50 percent in the decade to 2008.

Demand for power continues to outstrip power though with the deficit being met through imports of 100MW firm supply deal with EDM of Mozambique and 300MW non firm supply arrangement with ESKOM of South Africa.

It is against this background that Government is working on a number of public and private drive initiatives to increase power, which also include 600MW extension of Hwange Thermal Power Station.

Other projects being pursued include Batoka, a joint project with Zambia that will generate 2 400MW and Sengwa, which is being developed by Rio Zim, as well as China Sunlight project, joint venture between Government and a Chinese firm. A plethora of licences have been issued to private power producers.

Mr Mbiriri said Zimbabwe will have completely dealt with its power deficit situation in the next two years and would possibly have excess to export to the region if internal demand for power does not increase.