Zimbabwe Power Company to draw down $199 million for Hwange expansion

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  • Construction of two thermal units will cost $1.5 billion
  • State utility is meeting only about half of electricity demand

THE Zimbabwe Power Coompany (ZPC) will draw down $199 million from a China Export-Import Bank loan in April to begin building additional units at the Hwange Thermal Power Station, acting Managing Director Joshua Chirikutsi said.

Upon completion, the $1.5 billion units 7 & 8 will add 600 megawatts to the existing 920-megawatt plant, Zimbabwe’s biggest.

ZPC, a unit of power utility (ZESA) and Sinohydro Corp. will own 64 percent and 36 percent respectively of the proposed Hwange units. The two will provide counterpart funding for the project and construction is scheduled to take 45 months.

Zimbabwe’s power utility is meeting about half of the country’s 2,200-megawatt electricity requirement. It relies on imports because existing units at Hwange have fallen into disrepair.

“The project will now commence and we will be drawing down $199 million in April,” Chirikutsi said in an interview at the commissioning of an additional 300 megawatts of hydropower at Kariba Station, which was constructed by Sinohydro for $533 million. Kariba is now producing 1,050 megawatts from 750 megawatts.

Kariba’s completion will save the utility $72 million annually in power imports, according to Josh Chifamba, chief executive officer of Zesa Holdings Pvt Ltd., which generates, transmits and distributes electricity. At peak demand, the nation imports about 350 megawatts a month, he said.