THE Infrastructure and Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) is scouting for investors to finance the construction of mini-hydro and solar projects with capacity to generate 300 megawatts (MW), as the country battles to shrug off an intractable power crisis.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Zimbabwe is experiencing a gripping power crisis, characterised by rolling electricity blackouts, lasting for nearly 18 hours everyday. This has disrupted industrial operations, while households have been plunged into darkness.
Apart from identified mini hydropower plants, the bank needs to exploit its land dotted across the country to erect additional solar power projects.
One of the identified projects is the development and construction of a 1,7MW mini-hydro power plant at Osborne Dam, approximately 35km from Mutare and 80km from Rusape.
“The project scope includes: System engineering, design review, material purchasing, equipment manufacture and supply, construction and installation. The project will help optimise economic benefits from Osborne Dam by generating clean energy for irrigation purposes and supplying the national grid. Feasibility studies were carried out and the project is now at fund-raising stage for project implementation,” IDBZ said in a statement.
IDBZ said the potential suitors must be locally incorporated and should demonstrate financial capacity as well as technical experience to deliver projects of this nature by providing an impeccable and verifiable company profile showing the experience and profiles of key personnel within the organisation.
IDBZ also needs a partner at its Odzani Mini Hydro Project in Mutare with the scope of work entailing the rehabilitation of weirs, penstocks, canals, and construction of a powerhouse (including turbines) at a decommissioned power generation site. Power generated from the project will be fed into the national grid. The project is currently at planning stage.
Furthermore, the bank needs to build a 50MW Rufaro Solar Farm Project in Marondera . In addition, the bank is also looking for a partner to build Sable Solar Farm Project to generate 50MW to feed into the national grid.
“The solar plant will be located at a farm in Kwekwe, in the Midlands province. The project scope includes the development and establishment of a 50MW solar plant, 132/33kV onsite sub-station, an approximately 5km power transmission line, switchyard and associated line bays. The project is currently at preparation stage,” IDBZ said.
Moreover, in Masvingo the infrastructure bank said it envisages building the Gutu Solar Farm Project set to generate 20MW. In Matabeleland South, the bank is looking for a partner to construct the Plumtree Solar Project meant to generate 10MW from solar energy intended for the national grid. The project is currently at initiation stage. The bank owns the land, which is 27ha in size.
The bank said it needs to maximise its 79 hectares of land in Matabeleland North to generate 50MW from the Gwayi Solar Project.
The GDE Bulilima Solar Energy Project entails the development and establishment of a 50MW solar energy plant meant to generate electricity at a solar farm in Bulilima district, Matabeleland South. The land is located about 20km from Plumtree town and the generated electricity will be fed into the national grid. The project is at planning stage.
At the National University of Science and Technology, the first project entails the development and establishment of an on-campus 5MW solar energy plant meant to generate electricity to supply the tertiary institution.
“The surplus power generated will be fed into the national grid, at the same time utilising the benefits of the net-metering system. The project is at planning stage. The second project entails the development and establishment of an off campus 50MW solar energy plant meant to generate electricity in Bulilima district, Matabeleland South,” IDBZ said.