Hwange thermal station expansion on course

Leonard Ncube Victoria Falls Reporter
WORK on the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station’s units 7 and 8 is ready to take off with the government finalising talks on the funding deal with a Chinese firm.

Early this year the Zimbabwe Energy regulatory Authority (Zera) granted the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) a licence paving way for the commencement of the $1,5 billion 600MW project.

The tender for the project was last year awarded to a Chinese company, Sino-Hydro, which is also servicing the 300MW Kariba South Hydro-Power Station expansion project.

Energy and Power Development Minister Samuel Undenge told Chronicle Business on Friday that the government was almost done with the financial closure and the process was in its final stage.

“As you know the project was awarded to Sino-Hydro and at the moment we’re doing a financial closure on the package. All I can say is that we’re almost there,” he said.

The minister could not be drawn into giving timelines on when the process would actually be concluded and commencement dates.

The expansion project is expected to begin during the fourth quarter of this year or early next year. It is set to be completed within 42 months from commencement, according to the contractor.

Undenge said each of the two units would add 300MW to the national grid.

The contract to expand the power plant was initially given to China Machinery Engineering Company, but was cancelled after the firm failed to show capacity to raise the money.

A team of experts from ZPC visited China in September last year to conduct due diligence on the capacity of Sino-Hydro to build thermal power plants.

ZPC visited two of three thermal power stations Sino-Hydro has constructed in China under partnerships with local authorities.

Sino-Hydro owns 70 percent of the power stations in that country.

One of the power stations visited has capacity to produce 620MWx2 while the second, with a design capacity for 3,000MW, has only phase one completed and is producing 750MW.

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