FEASIBILITY studies for the 2 400 megawatt (MW) Batoka Hydro power project and mobilisation of funds would commence before the end of 2017, an official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The project will be situated a few kilometres downstream the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River.
The $4 billion power project, expected to be completed in 2024, would be shared equally by Zimbabwe and Zambia when generation commences.
“The governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia are jointly developing the Batoka Hydro Power plant on the Zambezi River.
Feasibility studies for the project are being finalised and mobilisation of funds should commence before the end of 2017,” Energy and Power Development minister, Samuel Undenge said, while addressing delegates at the 48th Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) meeting in Bulawayo on Wednesday.
To this end, roadshows were conducted in Paris, Beijing, Johannesburg, Harare and Lusaka in 2016, he said.
“There are other projects at various stages of sourcing financing that include coal fired, hydro and solar PV [photovoltaic] plants. These are being developed by government as well as independent power producers,” he said.
Undenge also indicated that government was soon expecting financial closure on the $1,1bn Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion project, which will add 600MW into the national grid.
The project, which has theoretically taken off with the signing of loan agreements and lending agreements between the government and Sinosure, is still struggling to take off after Zimbabwe failed to clear $11,2 million arrears to China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation for previous deals.
Sinosure is a State-funded policy-oriented insurance company established for promoting China’s foreign trade and economic co-operation.
It is a finance agency that guarantees and ensures financial outlays from that country.
“We are expecting financial closure on the Hwange Expansion project soon. This should add an additional capacity of 600MW,” Undenge said.
He said the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority was strengthening its national transmission capacity by constructing two new 400kV power lines — the Triangle-Orange Grove in the eastern part of the country and Alaska-Sherwood in the central region.