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Hydro-power stations on cards

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The government requires at least $30 million to set up six mini hydro-power stations aimed at boosting local power generation and feeding into the national grid.

The move is aimed at easing power shortages.
Energy and Power Development deputy minister Hubert Nyanhongo said six dams have already been identified and feasibility studies carried out.
The projects have a projected time frame of 18 months to complete and with varied anticipated capacity.

“The identified dams are Manyuchi (in Mwenezi District in Masvingo) with a capacity to produce 1,1 megawatts (MW) at an estimated cost of $1,4 million and that would take about 18months. Osborne Dam has a three megawatts potential ($6m) and construction would take about 18 months, Tanga Dam can produce three megawatts at a cost of $6 million taking 18months to set up,” said Nyanhongo.

“Siya Dam has a projected 0,9 megawatts (MW) and requires about $3 million with a time frame of a year to construct, Dura Dam has capacity to produce 2MW at a cost of $4 million with a projected time frame of 18 months and Mutirikwi Dam has a capacity of 5MW at a cost of $12 million.”

Last year, a South African hydropower plant developer, owner and operator NuPlanet was granted a generation licence to build a 5MW greenfield hydropower plant at the Mutirikwi dam, Zimbabwe’s largest reservoir.

An eight-month technical feasibility and environmental-impact assessment phase for the project was planned to kick start this year with procurement, contracting and construction to commence thereafter.

The plant could potentially be commissioned by late 2012.

Nyanhongo said the setting up of the hyrdo-power stations through Independent Power Producers would increase availability of power in the country, but would not go at length in explaining when the projects would commerce.

On coal bed methane, Nyanhongo said: “There are vast economic spin-offs that can be derived from utilising methane. We could produce power, liquid fuels, fertiliser and several chemicals. But lack of investments has hampered progress in exploiting the resources.”

He said under the 2012 Budget a provisional $40 million bid has been submitted to exploit methane gas in Lupane.

“A $470 million gas-powered power station will be developed after the completion of the quantification of the deposits” said the deputy minister.

Zimbabwe has been struggling to tap its vast gas reserves, believed to be the largest in the region, due to elusive investment capital.

Implementation of the Lupane gas project, which was granted National Project Status by the government in 2007, is expected to ease the country’s power woes.

The country’s untapped methane gas reserves stand at about 27 trillion cubic feet. Globally, methane gas is considered a cheaper source of energy.

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