India to fund Zim's energy infrastructure projects

India to fund Zim's energy infrastructure projects
Published: 29 May 2018
INDIA has pledged its commitment to financing Zimbabwe's energy infrastructure rehabilitation projects, which will see the country accessing millions of dollars from the Asian partner for power generation.

India is partnering the country in the rehabilitation and expansion of infrastructure at major power stations in Hwange, Bulawayo, Harare, Munyati and Gairezi.

Zimbabwe has so far secured lines of credit worth millions of dollars from the Export-Import Bank while a tender process is underway for some of the projects including duplication of Deka Pipeline in Hwange whose benefit would include ensuring sustainable supply of water to the power station. The ultimate goal is to increase efficiency and reliability in terms of power.

Speaking at the inauguration of the plant optimisation training programme at Hwange Power Station last week, India Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Masakui Rungsung said the two countries enjoy a mutual relationship. He said India has initiated the Indian Technical Economic Co-operation Programme (ITEC) to help developing countries with training and Zimbabwe has an opportunity to send 260 trainees to India for expertise.

A total of 44 ZPC workers are undergoing training while more than 100 have been trained under the plant optimisation training programme implemented by ZPC and WAPCOS, a consultancy company for both countries.

"India and Zimbabwe have always been all weather friends and good partners not just after the new dispensation but since history. The co-operation is based on mutual respect and benefit," he said.

Mr Rungsung said the expansion of Hwange Power Station was critical to the country. He, however, expressed displeasure over the slow pace the projects were going saying his country was concerned about transparency.

"Hwange Power plant is at proposal stage and is yet to be approved by government of India. If not refurbished its production will go down steeply and injection of further funds will not only increase production but it will save the existing 500MW," he said.

The station is currently producing 500MW and capacity will rise to about 900MW after expansion. It has secured $310 million for the first phase.

Construction of an underground $48 million pipeline from Deka to the power station is critical in the sense that there will be reliable water supply to the station so it meets its target. About 25 percent of work has been completed while three Indian companies have expressed interest in completing the remaining work.

A total of $120 million is needed to replace boilers and rehabilitate turbines at the Bulawayo Station to produce 90MW up from 30MW but the project stalled after only one bidder showed interest. Ambassador Rungsung said the government of India decided to re-open the tender process so the project becomes price competitive and transparent.

A line of credit of $70 million was sought for the decommissioned Harare 2 power project to produce 60MW while $108 million is needed for the Gairezi Hydro, which will add 30MW. ZPC acting managing director Mr Patrick Chivaura said the power company was producing using old assets as he appealed to stakeholders for support.

"We do have a deficit and we are trying to close the gap. We have done Kariba South extension, which is able to inject 300MW and similarly we are doing expansion work on the reduction on the gap that we already have by adding another 600MW.

"The country is augmenting national requirements through imports from Mozambique and South Africa, which is why we having this multifaceted programme for plant optimisation. We are looking at optimising on how we can capacitate our own staff and reducing accidents as well as increasing the existing assets before we go to life extension," he said.

ZPC paid tribute to India saying the training was going to fill gaps created by brain drain and contribute to national power demand. "This is a critical project to Zimbabwe as Hwange Power Station is the largest power plant in the country. As the Ministry we will be forever grateful for India's continued support," said a ZPC board member.
- chronicle
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