CONSTRUCTION of the multi-million-dollar Dema Power Plant, about 40 kilometres outside Harare, has started with the project expected to be complete by year-end.
BY STAFF REPORTER
The diesel-powered electricity-generating project, a public private partnership deal between government and energy company Sakunda Holdings was targeting to produce about 200 megawatts (MW), an amount that could go a long way to ease the country’s power problems.
According to a letter by Energy and Power Development ministry secretary Patson Mbiriri to Zesa chief executive officer Josh Chifamba, government was aware of the impending power shortage given problems at Kariba Power Station.
“The government of Zimbabwe has approved the acquisition of 200MW Emergency Diesel Power Station at Dema sub-station. The contract for the installation of the plant and supply of power has been awarded to Sakunda Holdings,” Mbiriri said in a December 24, 2015 letter.
“Government is cognisant of the urgent need to secure 200MW to cover the gap which is going to be created by the reduction of power generation at Kariba Power Station as of January 1, 2016. Nonetheless, the supply of power from the diesel plant should not cause negative impacts to the economy.”
Mbiriri added: “Considering the urgency of the matter government recommends that you should now engage Sakunda Holdings for contract negotiations.”
He indicated that the tariff structure would have to be “locked for 36 months”.
On the same day, Chifamba wrote to Sakunda inviting the company for negotiations then set for December 28.
Water shortages at Kariba Dam, a result of poor rains, have caused drastic reduction in power generation resulting in electricity rationing across the country that has affected industry and commerce as well as domestic consumers.
A visit to the construction site in Dema last week showed workers busy with civil works for the project that was set to gradually phase out from diesel to thermal gas and hydro-power with a target of over 800 megawatts in 10 years at a prime price of $0,10 per kilowatt hour. A site supervisor who declined to be named said: “We are preparing firm ground for the generators and five bladder tanks that will carry about 800 000 litres each at any given time for the production of about 230MW. We should be ready to bring in the generators in just under two months. This plant has zero percent transmission loss compared to the obtaining 15% transmission loss from other power stations,” the official said.
Briefing bankers and other stakeholders in Harare recently, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the emergency diesel power plant would boost the country’s power production.