Exim Bank avails funds for Hwange Power Station

Exim Bank avails funds for Hwange Power Station
Published: 20 June 2018
CHINA Exim Bank has released the initial $200 million to immediately kick-start the $1,5 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion project in Matabeleland North province.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to preside over the groundbreaking ceremony for the mega project next week Wednesday.

Chinese firm Sino-Hydro is undertaking the project, which involves expansion of units 7 and 8 to add 600 megawatts of electricity into the national grid.

Key stakeholders comprising the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), Sino-Hydro representatives, Hatch, which is the engineering company carrying out feasibility work and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development met yesterday in Victoria Falls to discuss final details about implementation of the project.

Director for Power Development in the ministry Engineer Benson Munyaradzi said the money was now available to kick-start the project whose completion will take 42 months.

"We are here to discuss implementation of the project. As you are aware the loan for the project became effective in April meaning to say we can utilise it and be able to do work," he said.

"About $199 million was released by China Exim Bank for the project meaning to say there is money now to start work on site. The $199 million is part of the $998 million the bank will contribute," said Eng Munyaradzi.

China Exim Bank is the main funder while Sino Hydro and ZPC will each contribute $176 million and $340 million equity respectively. The project cost is pegged at $1,5 billion and is expected to feed into the national power grid and ease power deficit. It will help improve people's living standards, create employment of more than 3 000 people as well as enhance skills transfer.

The release of the funding follows the successful visit to China by President Mnangagwa in April when Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to avail funding for various infrastructural projects in Zimbabwe. "This meeting is for the teams to agree on what needs to be done before implementation. The ground-breaking by His Excellency is next week and before that the partners needed to agree on a certain plan, which is a very critical stage," added Eng Munyaradzi.

He said preliminary work had started as workmen were on site working on office space. Eng Munyaradzi said currently the coal-fired station has six units producing about 750MW and the expansion will have immense benefits as it will add 600MW. Recently Kariba South Hydro was commissioned, adding 300MW to the national grid.

"Hwange itself is relatively old and the expansion project will be a relief as it will also add to base energy that is needed at any given time," he said.

The country has an electricity shortfall of about 800MW which is covered by imports. Eng Munyaradzi said Zimbabwe imports about 35 percent of its power and faces challenges paying for it.

There are also concerns about water supply for the power station and the contractor was called upon to build a pipeline from Deka where the plant draws water from. Hwange Power Station was built in two stages, with the first four units commissioned between 1983 and 1986 while the remaining two were commissioned in 1986 and 1987. Hwange is the largest coal-fired power station in the country.

- chronicle
Tags: Exim,


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