CONTRACT negotiations between the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and a Chinese contractor, Sino Hydro Corporation, for the expansion of Hwange Power Station have been concluded, the Financial Gazette can reveal. This will pave way for the construction of new, additional power generation plants, which should have started along with a similar expansion project at Kariba Power Station whose ground breaking was done in early September.
Partson Mbiriri, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development confirmed the development, saying: “With regards to Hwange Power Station expansion project, the contract negotiations are basically complete. Both ZPC and Sino Hydro Corporation have initialled the technical contract documents. The State Procurement Board (SPB) is reviewing the initiated contract documents after which project implementation shall begin.”
Government recently awarded the tender for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station to Sino Hydro Corporation after another Chinese company, China Machinery and Engineering Company, which had been awarded the tender ahead of Sino Hydro Corporation failed to provide a funding plan to get the project off the ground, 14 months after winning the bid.
China Machinery Engineering Company tendered its bid at US$1,38 billion while Sino Hydro Corporation’s bid price was US$1,17 billion. The power station, the country’s largest coal-fired power plant, is currently using six units and the expansion would see the thermal power station adding two more units, which would have a combined generation capacity of 600 megawatts (MW).
The country is currently facing crippling power shortages with the national power utility, ZESA, only able to generate around 1 400MW against a national peak demand of 2 200MW. Power supplies in the two southern African States are expected to improve once the project comes on line.
Closing the gap between current generation and installed capacity at existing power stations will also involve re-powering small thermals at Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati and extending the life of Hwange Thermal Power Station. The Harare Power 2 tender was recently awarded to Jaguar Overseas Investments of India. For operation and funding reasons, Mbiriri said the repowering of the Bulawayo Power Station and Munyati shall be staggered.