‘Power shortages to continue till 2018’

via ‘Power shortages to continue till 2018’ – DailyNews Live 13 October 2014 by John Kachembere

HARARE – Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire said the country must brace itself for power cuts until 2018, when most of the current power projects would be completed.

Mavhaire said although the government identified power generation as a key enabler and driver in its quest to revive the economy, loadshedding will only ease after four years.

“It is a great thing for our countrymen, even in far-flung provinces and districts to have reliable and uninterrupted power supply, to have confidence in our power sector and to be able to go about their day to day activities with limited risks of loss of revenue from their business due to interrupted power supplies,” he said during the signing ceremony signed of $1,5 billion deal between Zimbabwe and  China’s Sino Hydro to expand a coal-fired power plant.

Zimbabwe is currently battling acute and frequent power shortages due to lack of investments in the sector. The country produces an average of 1 200 megawatts (MW) against a peak demand of 2 200 MW resulting in load-shedding.

In the past few months, the country’s sole power utility – Zesa Holdings — has increased loadshedding, forcing some parts of the country to go without electricity for up to 18 hours per day.

Under the new deal to expand Hwange Thermal Power station, which still needs full financial cover, Sino Hydro will add 600MW of electricity to the national grid.

“The additional electricity will narrow the demand-supply gap in a huge way,” said Mavhaire.

Zimbabwe recently awarded the tender for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station to Sino Hydro after another Chinese company, China Machinery and Engineering Company (CMEC), failed to provide a funding plan to get the project off the ground, 14 months after winning the bid.

CMEC tendered its bid at $1,38 billion while Sino Hydro Corporation’s bid price was $1,17 billion.

The power station, the country’s largest coal-fired power plant, is currently using six units and the expansion would see the thermal power station adding two more units, which would have a combined generation capacity of 600 megawatts (MW).

China’s Export-Import Bank will provide a loan for the project, 80 percent of it at concessionary rates and 20 percent at commercial rates.

Wang Xinhuai, the Sino Hydro’s vice-president for Africa, whose company is currently undertaking a similar expansion project at Kariba Power Station pledged to execute the contract strictly and deliver the project with high quality.