The Kupinga Mini Hydro Power Station started generating electricity in July 2017, and was commissioned in August. It is situated on the Rusitu River, and commissioned by Old Mutual. The $5,7 million has a rated capacity of 1,6MW.
Rusitu River - Ward Six at the boundary of Chipinge and Chimanimani districts.
The plant has a capacity of 1.6MW
This 1,6MW is signicant. Chipinge consumes 5MW. Therefore a third of Chipinge town's needs.
It is powered by a Gilkes Twin Jet Turgo turbine.
According to Gilkes, this project is the 9th Turbine installed by Gilkes in Zimbabwe in the last 10 years, providing a total of 30MW of power. The project was an ideal fit for the Turgo Impulse turbine, designed by Gilkes in 1919 to operate at a higher speed and with a higher efficiency across a broad flow range. The Turgo is operational on silt laden water over long periods with minimum wear making it suitable for many of the projects in Zimbabwe. Gilkes have supplied a total of 30 turbines in the country
The station was constructed by Old Mutual with its partner Kupinga Renewable Energy (Private) Limited Company.
Zimbabwe Energy Regulating Authority (Zera) issued a 25-year licence to Kupinga.
The small hydro power station was constructed by Old Mutual together with its partner Kupinga Renewable Energy (Private) Limited company. Construction began in 2014 and ended late 2016. The power station started feeding power into the national in July 2017 – operating at 92% capacity and generating 1,400kW.
In August 2017, Finance & Economic Minister Patrick Chinamasa launched the Kupinga hydropower station.
Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge said currently, the country has a power shortage of between 300MW and 600MW. Minister of State for Manicaland Province Mandi Chimene implored Rusitu villagers to take proper care of the Rusitu hydropower station. Old Mutual group CEO Mr Jonas Mushosho said the investment in power generation was part of the organisation’s corporate social responsibility. According to Marjorie Mayida, Old Mutual Investment Group Managing Director, the project is expected to have a 17% return on investment.
The operations manager Engineer Michael Cain said despite siltation challenges faced by the station, his company was increasing electricity generation by the day. “When we started operating last month, siltation problems temporarily affected our operations, as water levels had suddenly become low. We then approached the local leadership who assisted us by moving villagers who were farming along Rusitu River,” Chipinge Rural District Council chairperson, Councillor Phenious Muzamana , “Apart from feeding into the national grid, the establishment of the plant has created employment for people in the area”. A total of 44 locals have been recruited since the inception of the project.
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- Chinamasa commissions 1,6MW power plant, The Herald”, Published: 25 August 2017, Retrieved: 11 September 2019
- Kupinga Mini Hydro Power Station lights Chipinge, The Herald”, Published: 7 August 2017, Retrieved: 11 September 2019
- Kupinga Hydro Power Station opened, Gilkes”, Retrieved: 11 September 2019
- Old Mutual commissions Kupinga hydropower plant, Green Energy Zim”, Published: 5 September 2017, Retrieved: 11 September 2019