By Golden Sibanda
The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) will take over full control of the newly completed Kariba South Power Station after two years when the defects liability period agreed with Chinese contractor Sinohydro lapses.
The plant was commissioned by President Mnangagwa in March this year.
Kariba South had its electricity generation capacity extended by 300 megawatts after generators units 7 and 8, each with production potential of 150MW, were added.
The expansion increased Kariba South hydro power plant’s installed capacity to 1050MW from the previous installed generation capacity of 750 megawatts.
The capacity extension project, meant to resolve power shortages, had a budgeted cost of $533 million.
President Mnangagwa said the completion of the Kariba South Power Station extension project was testimony to Government’s commitment to addressing Zimbabwe’s energy requirements while boosting economic productivity.
Zesa said the new generators have been operating at full capacity.
“The project has a defect liability period of about two years, whereby the machines will be closely monitored by both the contractor and ZPC,” said the power company this week.
“Thereafter, the contractor will hand over the full project to the Zimbabwe Power Company,” ZPC said in response to questions from The Sunday Mail Business.
The State power utility said the power station has realised a 17 percent increase in the current demand for power in Zimbabwe.
The Southern African country requires about 1 600MW at peak demand periods against an internal generation capacity of about 1 450MW. The deficit is met through imports from the region, especially Mozambique and South Africa.
Zimbabwe uses about USD10 million, which is already in critical short supply, to import the electricity.
But parent firm Zesa Holdings said imports had dropped by 50 percent since Kariba South extension started feeding electricity into the national power grid.
“This is an indication of a major stride taken by Zimbabwe Power Company in the generation of electricity as well as moving towards self-sustenance as a nation,” ZPC said.
ZPC also said the project made a tremendous achievement in uplifting the standard of living of the local community.
The engineering, procurement and construction contract required 25 percent of the EPC contract to be allocated to local contractors for labour and materials. To that end, a total of nine major sub-contractors were engaged.
Indications are that 1 400 locals were employed while a further 350 jobs were created through the sub contractors. Also, specialist personnel from China totaled 300, bringing the tally to 2050.
Government has been working on a number of projects to increase internal power generation so that the country can meet its own energy needs, especially as the economy recovers and demand for power rises.
To that end, Sino Hydro was also awarded the contract to extend Hwange thermal power station, which has an installed capacity of 920MW but is only producing an average of 450MW due to antiquated equipment.
Hwange, like Kariba South, will also be funded from a loan extended by China Eximbank, amounting to about $1,1 billion.
The Hwange plant extension will add a further 600MW to the national grid.
Zimbabwe has also partnered Zambia for development of Batoka Gorge power plant, which will generate 2 400MW to be shared equally between the two nations.
Several independent power producer licences have also been issued, as Government moves to ensure adequate local power generation.
In the near future, it is hoped that Zimbabwe will be able to generate surplus power for export. Sunday Mail.