State-run Zimbabwe Power Co. (ZPC) is preparing to rehabilitate the ageing 920-MW Hwange coal-fired thermal power plant (TPP) through an estimated investment of US$510 million.The Hwange TPP currently generates just 450-500 MW from its five units.
A ZPC official said that the Indian government had agreed to provide up to US$310 million for the rehabilitation project.
ZESA Holdings, the parent company of ZPC, recently asked the management to finalise an action plan to mobilise the remaining US$200 million required to complete the rehabilitation exercise.
“The board (of directors) inquired on the progress on the US$310 million loan from India for the Hwange Power Station life extension project. Management in response advised the meeting that there were some limitations, as the loan was not adequate to refurbish all the five units, which required about US$510 million,” state the ZESA board meeting minutes.
The board has also expressed concern that there seems to be slow progress on the plans to rehabilitate the Hwange Power Station despite the urgent need to ensure the project is carried through.
“[The] management was advised to make sure that they come up with recommendations that would see the project being undertaken in 2019,” it said.
The existing Hwange power plant, Zimbabwe’s oldest and largest power project, is currently producing about 650 MW from an installed capacity of 920 MW owing to technical problems. The station was built in two stages. The first four units of 120 MW each were commissioned during 1983-86 and the remaining two units of 220 MW each were installed between in 1986 and 1987. In addition, ZPC is firming up plans to build additional capacity of 600 MW with two new units of 300 MW each near the existing units at Hwange with financial assistance from Exim Bank of China.
ZPC has incorporated a special purpose vehicle, called Hwange Electricity Supply Co. (HESCO), for the Hwange Expansion project. The Zimbabwean company owns 64% of HESCO, while SinoHydro Corp. holds the remaining 36%.This rehabilitation and expansion project is planned to reduce the power shortage in Zimbabwe, which currently produces around 1,300 MW against estimated demand of 2,300 MW.v