Byo power station upgrade deferred

Brighton Gumbo Business Reporter
THE upgrading of the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station which was scheduled to begin early this year has been deferred to August due to delays in floating the tender for the project. Towards the end of last year, the government signed an $87 million Credit Line Agreement with the India Export-Import Bank (India Exim Bank) for the upgrading of Bulawayo Thermal Power Station.

In an interview last week, Zesa spokesman Fullard Gwasira said part of the loan agreement requires that a tender for the project be floated on the Indian market with the process expected to take six months.

“As soon as the tender floating process on the Indian market is complete sometime in August, we expect the actual works at the Bulawayo Power Station to begin,” said Gwasira. He said floating of the tender for the project had since begun.

“The upgrading exercise would see the thermal power station producing an addition 90 megawatts,” said Gwasira. The plant, which was set up in 1947 with an installed capacity of 120MW is presently generating about 30MW per day due to ageing infrastructure.

As of Friday, the Zimbabwe Power Company indicated on its website that the power station had a daily output of 24MW. The upgrading exercise, which involves replacement of obsolete chain grate boiler technology with circulating fluidised boilers, is expected to take three years.

“Other works will involve the refurbishment of turbines and generators as well as the balance of plant, thus, enhancing operations at the small thermal power station,” said Gwasira.

“Some of the advantages, which will be realised from the repowering exercise include less carry-over of un-burnt coal as well as reduced emissions into the atmosphere.”

It is also hoped that the expected additional 90MW from Bulawayo Power Station will be added onto the national grid to boost power the country’s supply. Due to depressed generation capacity from all the country’s power stations, Zimbabwe is producing less than 1,300MW against a national demand of 2,200MW.

The $87 million India Exim Bank credit line has tenure of 13 years, made up of a 10-year repayment period and three years grace period with an interest rate of two percent per annum.

The loan comes with a commitment fee of 0,5 percent and a management fee of 0,5 percent. Recently, India Exim Bank extended several loans to Zimbabwe including a $49.9 million facility for the purchase of vehicles for the Ministry of Tourism and the Hospitality Industry as well as $13 million to Hwange Colliery Company Limited to buy mining equipment.

The bank has also provided a loan of $28 million for the upgrading of Deka pumping station to support the cooling system at Hwange Thermal Power Station.

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