Batoka Gorge: Zimbabwe set to begin preliminary works on largest power plant

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By Xinhua

HARARE: Preliminary works on the 2,400 megawatt Batoka Gorge hydro-electric power plant will start in January next year as Zimbabwe moves to become energy self-sufficient, a cabinet minister said Wednesday.

The 5.2 billion U.S. dollars plant, which will be situated a few kilometres downstream the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, will be a joint venture between Zimbabwe and Zambia who will share the electricity equally.

Zimbabwe is currently producing about 1,300 megawatts against a demand of over 2,000 megawatts, and relies on regional imports to cover the deficit.

Acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu was quoted by the state news agency New Ziana as saying that the project would start soon.

“Cabinet was advised that following a recent visit by delegations from China Power and General Electric, contractors on the project, preliminary works on the project were now scheduled to start in January, 2019,” he said.

Zimbabwe in March this year commissioned the Chinese-built and financed Kariba South Hydro Power Expansion Project which added 300 megawatts to the national grid. The project cost 533 million U.S. dollars.

It also commissioned the construction of Hwange Thermal Power station expansion project in June this year, which is expected to be completed within 42 months and will add 600 MW to the national grid.

The project will cost 1.5 billion dollars and will be carried out by China’s Sinohydro, the same firm that undertook the Kariba South expansion project.

Through these various energy projects, Zimbabwe is hoping to become energy self-sufficient by 2020 although it will require more than 11,000 MW to attain its vision of becoming middle income country by 2030.