Zimbabwe Gets US$310 million From India For Rehabilitation Of Hwange Power Station
Zimbabwe has secured US$310 million from the Export-Import Bank of India to rehabilitate six units at the Hwange Power Station in a bid to restore its capacity to 920 megawatts.
Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda said the rehabilitation of the ageing thermal power plant shall be done in three phases and is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2023.
He also said the rehabilitation will be after the commissioning of units 7 (early next month) and 8 (during the first quarter of 2023).
Units 7 and 8 have a generation capacity of 300 MW.
The Government contracted Sino-Hydro to fund the expansion of Hwange in a deal worth US$1.2 billion. Minister Soda said:
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We are likely to have two units decommissioned at a time (to pave way for rehabilitation) until all the units have been repaired. We are looking at restoring the capacity of all the units to 920MW upon completion.
He said the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has engaged a consultant who is already working on a detailed project report that will detail the scope of the work and “it should be ready by end of November.”
Soda said the report will pave way for the disbursement of the funds by the Exim Bank of India.
The loan from India comes when Zimbabwe is already experiencing load shedding due to frequent breakdowns at the Hwange power plant which produces an average of between 380 MW and 400MW, 40m percent below its capacity.
Last week, Zimbabwe experienced a countrywide blackout after transmission infrastructure at Alaska caught fire, resulting in the disturbance of the national transmission system.
All the power stations, except Harare, were switched off and it took almost five hours to restore the system.
Electricity imports also went down as ESKOM, one of the suppliers, is failing to generate enough for South Africa alone.