ENERGY minister Simon Khaya Moyo on Tuesday lauded China for funding the expansion of Kariba South hydro power station by 300 megawatts.
Speaking to Xinhua in Kariba ahead of the commissioning of the expansion project by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday, the minister said the additional power will help reduce the country’s power import bill.
“We are very excited by the work which has been done by our colleagues Sinohyro and their counterparts here,” said Khaya Moyo.
“We are really thrilled in the sense that, as you know we still import power from Eskom of South Africa and Hydro Cabbora Basa from Mozambique, and when we see such development it gives us strength and makes us certain that our import bill is going to be reduced tremendously,” the minister said.
China’s hydro power engineering and construction firm, Sinohydro carried out the expansion of the Kariba power plant by adding two 150 MW units from 2014 at a cost of 535 million U.S. dollars.
The first unit was completed and started feeding into the national grid in December 2017 while the test run for the second unit was completed two weeks ago.
The expansion project has lifted installed capacity for the plant from 750MW to 1,050 MW, making it the largest power plant in Zimbabwe after overtaking Hwange thermal power station whose installed capacity is 900 MW.
Zimbabwe requires 1,400 MW but has been producing about 900MW, covering the shortfall through imports.
It imports 300 MW from Eskom and 50 MW from Mozambique.
Minister Moyo said Zimbabwe wants China to continue assisting it in developing its power generation capacity to meet anticipated increased demand as more investors flock to the country after the coming in of a new government led by Mnangagwa.
“We have got other projects naturally across the country which we think should be speeded up. Because of the new dispensation we know that a number of investors are coming into the country, some of them are coming to re-open closed businesses and industries are going to be re-opening and we are quite confident that with more power available, there will be huge economic development.
“We are therefore encouraging our colleagues from China to continue with this good spirit they have demonstrated to us. We want to see this friendship solidified,” the minister said.
He said the country was proud to be commissioning the power development project which has far reaching implications for the lives of Zimbabweans.