CONSTRUCTION of the proposed Batoka Hydro Power Plant, joint project between Zimbabwe and Zambia will commence in 2017 following completion of feasibility studies this year.
Energy and Power Development Minister Samuel Undenge, who is the current chair of the Zambezi River Authority, told journalists this afternoon that once complete, the Batoka Dam would produce relatively cheaper hydro-electricity for the two countries.
“There are plans to build the Batoka dam and that one will also produce relatively cheap power. The feasibility studies will be completed by mid-year then the tenders for contractors will be floated,” he said.
“Beginning of next year, work at Batoka will start,” he added.
Undenge said construction of the Batoka Dam would take five years.
“Construction work starts in 2017. We expect it to be completed by 2023,” he said.
The Batoka project was initially stalled by dispute over the payment of the Central African Power Corporation debt, incurred at the construction of the Kariba Dam in the Rhodesian era. Zimbabwe paid off its share of the debt to pave way for the $3 billion project.
The Batoka hydro-electricity project is a three phased project, which involves construction of the dam, construction of the power station and construction of the transmission lines.
Once complete, Batoka power station will generate 2 400 megawatts of electricity, to be shared equally between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The two countries are presently experiencing serious power deficits following the drop in water levels at the Kariba Dam where the two countries share a hydro-electricity generating plant.
As of last week, Kariba was generating about 470 megawatts of electricity from about 750 MW last August when the Zambezi River Authority introduced water rationing to maintain acceptable water level.
Other projects in the pipeline include the Hwange Expansion Project, to produce an additional 600 megawatts of power, installation of two units at Kariba to generate an additional 300 megawatts, work at the Bulawayo thermal power station and at Munyati power station.
Undenge said despite this huge drop in power generation at the Kariba power station, the Government had taken contingent measures to ensure a steady supply of power to the country. Weather experts have said it will take between three to five years for water levels in the Kariba dam to get back to normal.
Minister Undenge said that the government was working on a number of projects, to ensure a steady supply of power, with the first being the Hwange Expansion project.
“Hwange thermal power station currently has six units, with an installed capacity of 920 megawatts. Two more units, Unit 7 and 8, will be added, each producing 300 megawatts each,” he said.
With the additional two units, Hwange power station would be able to produce 1 520 megawatts of power.
Sino Hydro has been contracted to carry put the project where construction is expected to commence in a few months’ time.
The other project on the cards is the installation of two units at the Kariba Power Station, which is at 39 percent completion. The first unit, which is expected to generate 150 megawatts will come on stream by the end of 2017 and the second one in the first quarter of 2018.
“At the completion of the two units, we would be getting an addition of 300 megawatts but this depends now on the water levels at Kariba dam.” FinX
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