Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe will be a net exporter of electricity by 2018 and the current power outages will be a thing of the past as Government has intensified the implementation of various power projects, Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge said yesterday.
By 2018, Dr Undenge said, Zimbabwe would be producing in excess of 4 000 megawatts against a local demand of 2 100MW. He said this meant that the country would have over 1 900MW for export.
The projected national power output is expected to go beyond 4 000MW given that most of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) licensed recently, will also be running at full throttle.
The IPPs recently said they needed $10 billion to construct 13 new power plants.
Addressing delegates at the launch of a Solar Water Heating Programme in Harare yesterday, Dr Undenge said the implementation of the power projects was on course.
“There are quick win projects, which are well on the way to being implemented,” he said.
“These include the re-powering of Bulawayo Thermal Power Station where the Government of Zimbabwe has already secured a line of credit valued at $87 million from the Government of India. The re-powering work will add 60 megawatts into the grid and it will take 24 months to complete.
“Number two, the Harare re-powering project which will cost $70, 2 million with 85 percent of the cost promised by India’s Exim Bank. The project is also envisaged to take 24 months to complete and this will add 90 megawatts to the national grid.
“Thirdly, the Munyati re-powering project went to tender and the adjudication is currently taking place. The construction period is also 24 months and this will put additional power to the national grid of 70 megawatts,” he said.
He said the fourth project, the Mutare Emergency Peaking Plant to be constructed soon, would add 120 megawatts to the national grid.
The project cost would be slightly over $92 million and the tender was won by a company called Helcro Electrical, he said, adding construction was expected to take 18 months.
“These quick win projects, which I have identified, will add 340 megawatts to the national grid,” he said.
Dr Undenge said the expansion of the Kariba South Hydro Power Station was already underway, with the installation of additional two by 150 megawatts units.
He said completion of the first and second units was expected by the end of 2017 and early 2018, respectively. “Financial closure for the two by 300 megawatts expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station is expected before end of the year with work commencing in the first half of 2016,” said Dr Undenge.
“We also have the Gairezi small hydro power plant, which is expected to produce between 50 and 60 megawatts. It has gone to tender and the winner will be announced before end of year.
“In addition, the feasibility study for the 2 400 megawatts Batoka Hydro Power Plant on the Zambezi River is about to be finished. This will be shared equally between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The conclusion of the feasibility study will pave way for the next phase of procuring the contractors and securing funding.”
In addition to Government initiated projects, Dr Undenge said there were several big projects that were being undertaken by private players to boost power generation in the country.
He said these projects would go a long way in ameliorating the current power shortages threatening to ground the economy.
“These include the 600 megawatt China Africa Sunlight Energy plant at the confluence of Gwayi-Shangani rivers, the 600 megawatt Southern Energy Thermal Power Station at Hwange, the 600 megawatt plant at Lisulu Thermal Power Station in Binga and we also have the recently concluded 600 megawatt Lubu Thermal Power Station at Binga, which will involve Sable Mine and CITIC company from China and also there is the 2 400 megawatt Sengwa Thermal Power Station at Gokwe,” he said.
“Other licensed small hydro power stations that have been developed include the Pungwe A hydro scheme with a generation of 3 megawatts and Pungwe B which is already generating up to 15 megawatts. Then we have smaller schemes scattered around the country,” he said.
“At Chisumbanje there is a biogas project which produces 18 megawatts and, we also have production of electricity at Triangle and Hippo Valley totaling 78 megawatts. Some of it is for internal use at the respective companies and the excess they sell to the national grid.”
The country is facing critical power shortages and stakeholders want Government to come up with immediate solutions as some suburbs are going for days without power.