Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), a Zambia-based independent power producer, yesterday said it is interested in Zesa’s small thermals, which received no off-takers after the national power utility put them to tender last month.
The invitation of expression of interest ran for a fortnight.Ndomupei Chikonye, a director in the Power Ministry’s power development department, confirmed industry rebuffed the tender.
Michael Tarney, CEC managing director, said the company, which runs a private dedicated network in Zambia, would make a formal offer for the three small thermals located in Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare with a combined installed capacity of 300 megawatts at some point.
“We’re just expressing interest in the small thermals,” Tarney said. “Although there is a view that they are more expensive to run, they are better than burning diesel through generators.”
The three small thermals are currently offline and require at least $150 million to rehabilitate.
In the tender notice, Zesa invited its bulk power consumers to purchase dedicated power from the thermals at a cost of 13 cents per kilowatt-hour, nearly double the price of buying electricity from the national grid.
Tarney said diesel-fired generator power costs more and is estimated at around 40-50 cents per kilowatt-hour. He added that CEC would offer power solutions to Zimbabwe’s mining industry.