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    Coal station feeds to national grid


    September 19, 2022 - Business Weekly

     

      A joint venture coal fired-power station built by Chinese investors and their Zimbabwean counterparts in Hwange, Matabeleland North province, has started feeding 50MW into the national grid.

      A 13-kilometre power transmission line linking the Zimbabwe Zhongxin Electrical Energy (ZZEE)'s plant and the Zimbabwe Power Company, a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings was constructed to feed into the national grid.

      ZZEE is a subsidiary of the Zimbabwe ZhongXin Coking Company (ZZCC), a joint venture project between Qualisave Mineral Resources of Zimbabwe and Yuxia ZhongXin Coking Company of China.

      Construction of the first phase of the 300MW thermal power plant in Hwange under the joint venture arrangement began in February 2019 and was expected to produce 50MW in October 2020 but missed the deadline on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

      An official from ZZCC who could not be named for professional reasons, told this paper yesterday that their plant was already feeding 50MW into the national grid following the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) they signed with Zesa through its subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).

      'We have started feeding 50MW into the national grid but the challenge that we have in relation to the expansion of the power plant is foreign currency.

      'When we signed the PPA with ZETDC, we agreed to sell the power in local currency but now we are in discussions with them for us to be paid in forex which we need to further expand the plant, so that we increase our generation capacity,' said the official.

      The power plant requires US$10 million to reach full construction.

      Contacted for comment, ZETDC acting managing director, Engineer Howard Choga, confirmed the feeding of 50MW into the national grid by ZZEE but would not be drawn into revealing further details on discussions regarding their PPA.

      'They (ZZEE) are feeding 50MW into the national grid and this started several months ago. Obviously PPAs discussions are confidentiality issues that I cannot disclose but we are all quite happy about it (supply into the national grid).

      At the moment, Zimbabwe is experiencing acute power shortage due to lack of investment in power generation projects in recent years.

      The Zimbabwe Power Company, another subsidiary of Zesa indicated on its website that as of yesterday, the country was producing 1 095MW with the country's largest power stations Kariba Hydropower Station and Hwange Thermal Power Station contributing 753MW and 304MW respectively.

      Following the commissioning of the US$533 million Kariba South Expansion project by President Mnangagwa in March 2018, the plant improved its capacity by an additional 300MW bringing installed capacity to 1 050MW.

      While progress on the US$1,4 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion project was nearing completion, it is hoped that upon completion of expansion works of Units 7 and 8, the power plant would raise its installed capacity to 1 520MW with the addition of 600MW.

      At present, Zimbabwe's national demand hovers around 2 200MW.

      As part of efforts to improve power generation in the country, authorities have licenced a number of Independent Power Producers whose projects were at various stages of implementation but a majority of their planned investments have failed to take shape largely due to funding constraints.

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