CONSTRUCTION of a 120-megawatt (MW) emergency/peaking power plant in Mutare is expected to begin soon, as negotiations with the contractor are nearing conclusion, a Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) official said on Friday.
by STAFF REPORTER
As the power crisis continues to rock the country, the official said the plant was one of the priority projects meant to address the crippling shortage of electricity which has seen most areas going for up to 18 hours without supplies.
“We are still negotiating on the contract, as normally contracts such as these take about a year to get funding. Hopefully we will begin to work on the plant next year even earlier,” the ZPC official said, who cannot be identified, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The $92 million project to construct two 60MW peaking plants, will take 18 months and once completed, Mutare will not need to rely on imports to bridge deficits during peak periods.
Helcraw Electrical, whose technical partner is Ansaldo Energia, recently won the tender for the project. Ansaldo Energia is Italy’s largest supplier, installer and service provider for power generation plants and components and one of the world’s leading players in the sector.
Power generation in the country is currently around 1 000MW, less than half the peak demand of 2 200MW, forcing local industries to use costly diesel generators to keep operations running, while some domestic consumers have switched to gas, coal and firewood.
Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge on Wednesday conceded that government had no immediate solution to the current power shortages. He said the ongoing power cuts would only ease following implementation of proposed medium-to-long-term intervention measures.
Some of the measures he announced include the repowering of Bulawayo Thermal Station, where the government has already secured an $87 million loan from the government of India. The project will take 24 months to complete, but will only add 60MW to the national grid on its completion.
Undenge said the Harare repowering project, which will also take 24 months to complete at a cost of $70,2 million secured from India Exim Bank, would add 90MW into the national grid. The Munyati repowering project, expected to provide 70MW, would also take about 24 months to complete.