Zim saves fortune on energy bill
Government is now focussing on the 2 400MW Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station, whose power will be equally shared between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Eng Munyaradzi said the scope of the Batoka power project will now be changed from a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has since made a commitment to release $13 million that will be used to complete feasibility studies before the end of the first quarter of next year.
Eng Munyaradzi said Government will speed up the project as it has medium to long-term benefits.
“The (respective) ministers from the two countries met in December and they agreed that they are going to consult with their Heads of State on the project,” he said.
“The project will now be operated as a Build, Operate (and) Transfer. Initially, we wanted to operate it as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
“We have already met General Electric, who expressed their interest. However, they are not the only company that has expressed interest, there are other European and Asian countries that have done so as well.” Parties to the deal hope to engage a contractor for the project next year, after which it will start in 2020.
The mega project is expected to create more than 10 000 jobs.
“We are expecting the project to create 10 000 jobs for the two countries, but there will also be a requirement for materials. For example, there will be high demand for cement; this means indirect jobs will be created.
‘‘The plant will help the country edge towards self-sustenance in terms of energy. “This festive season we did not even import any electricity, we used electricity produced locally,” added Eng Munyaradzi. Upon completion, Batoka will be the biggest power generating plant in Zimbabwe, followed by Kariba, which is currently generating 1050 MW a day, and Hwange Thermal Power Station.
Zimbabwe recently secured more than $300 million to refurbish the country’s biggest coal-fired power plant.
Additional units — Unit 7 and Unit 8 — are being constructed by Chinese firm Sinohyro after a groundbreaking ceremony held by President Mnangagwa on June 27.
There are separate renewable power projects that are being pursued by public and private players to augment supplies.
Experts say once Zimbabwe’s economy fully recovers, it would need about 4 000 MW to power it. Government is, however, confident that it will be able to export excess power to the region in the medium to long term. Mining companies that are starting new projects have committed to developing new renewable power projects that will supply excess power to the national grid.
Karo Resources, for example, plans to develop a 100MW solar plant.