MUTARE: The construction of Batoka hydro-power project is set to start next year, a government minister has said.
Energy minister, Samuel Undenge, said his ministry has embarked on a number of power projects to augment current supplies. The idea to establish a hydro power station at Batoka was mooted in 1960 by the Rhodesian government.
“The Batoka project is now on course and we have started carrying out visibility studies which we expect to end in July this year. Between July and December we expect the project to go to tender,” said Undenge Thursday.
He was addressing a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) stakeholders meeting in the eastern border city. Captains of industry had asked the minister what the government was doing to make power affordable to make business viable.
Undenge said the Batoka project, a joint venture between governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia, was expected to take six years to complete and would produce 2 400 megawatt which shall be shared equally among the two countries.
“We expect the project to be completed by 2023 and Zimbabwe will received 1 200 megawatt,” said Undenge.
On other projects, Undenge said Hwange Thermal Power’s expansion is expected to produce an additional 300 megawatts, Kariba South 300MW, Gwai Shangani 600 MW, Makomo 600 MW, Binga 600MW, Munyati 100 MW, Gwanda 100 MW and Ensukamini 100 MW. He said said other Independent power producers such Gaerezi and Pungwe mini-hydro projects are expected to boost power production.
“Gaerezi is expected to give us 30MW.We are also looking at solar although it has its expensive side. We need 15/18cents to produce Kw per hour but hydro is the cheapest with a cost of 3cents per KW/hr,” said Undenge.
“Power should be given to industry at affordable rates because it determines competitiveness,” said Undenge.
Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was also present at the meeting said Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) should not punish its consumers by hiking power tariffs but should find other means to increase power generation.
“The public cannot compensate loss of power during transmission through tariff hikes,” said Mnangagwa.