Kariba South to feed 150MW by Dec

Source: Kariba South to feed 150MW by Dec | The Herald

Hebert Zharare Deputy News Editor
About 86 percent of work on the Kariba South Power expansion project has been completed with the first unit expected to start generating 150 megawatts by December this year, while the second one will feed 150MW into the national grid after commissioning by March next year.

This key Zim-Asset project, under the Infrastructure and Utilities Cluster will bring 300 MW power, thereby easing pressure on the national power utility Zesa, that is importing about 350 MW from Zimbabwe’s neighbours.

Completion of the power scheme will see the country making huge savings on power imports. Uninterrupted power supply is one of the key enablers in the economic recovery drive.

In an interview with The Herald recently, Sinohydro chief representative in Zimbabwe, Mr Wu Yifeng, said the project was on schedule.

“As you will be aware, His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, President Mugabe, commissioned the project in September 2014 and the project is progressing very well and 86 percent of the works have been done to date,” he said.

“The first unit is about to be completed so we expect that it will start generating 150MW in December this year while the second unit will be commissioned in March next year. That means the Kariba South expansion project would have added 300MW to the national grid by March next year,” said Mr Wu.

The country needs about 1 400 MW for industrial and domestic use against a generating capacity of 900 MW, leaving the balance to be covered by imports.

Mr Wu dismissed media claims that the African Development Bank had blacklisted Sinohydro from carrying out its sponsored projects on the continent.

“As a matter of fact, it was during the pre-qualification process of a road tender in Uganda, where there was a typing error on the completion date of a project that was undertaken by Sinohydro. However, after a meeting between Sinohydro and AfDB, both parties reached a consensus that Sinohydro would continue to participate in AfDB’s projects,” said Mr Wu.

“On the claims that Sinohydro charged $533 million for the Kariba South expansion project compared to what it charged Zambia for the Kariba North expansion, the fact is that the engineering, procurement, and construction contract for Kariba South expansion project is only $355 million and not $533 million. The difference is the money that the employer, who is the Zimbabwe Power Company, spends on paying consultancy firms and on securing bank loans. That money has nothing to do with Sinohydro.

“Yes, the Zambia project was $278 million while for Zimbabwe it is $355 million. This is because of the differences of scope of works, construction duration and the date when the contract was signed,” said Mr Wu.

He said Sinohydro was also contributing to the development of the Kariba community through its corporate social responsibility activities.

Mr Wu said his company had helped in the construction of Mahombekombe Secondary School in Kariba town where they provided equipment and materials for site levelling and classroom building.

“Around 1 100 local technicians and labourers are employed and trained for Kariba South expansion project. When Kariba South expansion project is completed, the annual power generation of the country will be improved by about 25 percent, which will largely reduce the deficiency in industrial and domestic power use and further boost the social and economic development of Zimbabwe,” said Mr Wu.