Zim saves for­tune on en­ergy bill

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS -

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.

New projects

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.

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