By Chipo Musoko, HARARE, October 25 (The Source) – Zimbabwe requires $5.7 billion to invest in power generation projects that would increase the country’s power capacity to 6,600 megawatts from the current 1,320 megawatts, an official from the state-owned Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has said.
The financial requirements for the power sector are a mammoth task for a country whose national budget is about $4 billion in 2013. Zimbabwe has been experiencing crippling power shortages over the past decade, with demand rising to 2,200MW against a capacity of 1,300MW.
Zimbabwe has since resorted to power importation, mainly from Hydro Cabora Bassa in Mozambique and load shedding to cover the deficit.
ZPC managing director, Noah Gwariro told The Source on Friday after a media tour of the 50MW Harare thermal power station that the firm was seeking to raise $5.7 billion from various sources, with $2.2 billion of that going towards the Batoka Gorge Power Plant, an 800MW joint venture with Zambia.
The Batoka plant is expected to take six years to complete.
“There is need to reduce the power shortfall and we also need to increase the reliability of the current capacity so that we can produce power competitively,” he said.
Namibia’s Nampower has expressed interest to partner Zimbabwe to upgrade the Harare power station and has appointed a consultant to carry out due diligence power station.
“Should the Zimbabwean and Namibian governments agree on terms for the funding, then an agreement will be signed by the end of this year to seal the deal,” he said.
The project, to take 24 months to complete, will boost the Harare thermal plant’s capacity from the current 50MW to 120MW.
In 2007 Nampower extended a loan worth $40 million to Zimbabwe to fund the refurbishment of the Hwange Power Station, which is being repaid through a supply of 150MW of power daily.
Gwarira said the country was expected to clear the debt by end of the year although it still owed Namibia some additional power due to local shortages.
The country has five power stations, the Kariba hydro power station and four thermal power stations – Hwange, Munyati, Bulawayo and Harare.
Kariba is currently generating 37.28 percent, Hwange 28.67 percent , Bulawayo, 1.2 percent, Munyati 1.4 percent, Harare 0.4 percent while imports contribute 13.22 percent.
Plans are underway to extend Kariba South by 300MW at a cost of $400 million, Hwange 600MW at $500 million, Gairezi 30MW for $105 million as well as repair Deka pipeline which draws water from Zambezi river to feed into Hwange $28.6 million.