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Hwange power station expansion inches closer to completion

by Staff reporter
12 Apr 2022 at 06:26hrs | Views
SIGNIFICANT progress has been made on the US$1,5 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station Unit 7 and 8 expansion project, whose completion is now more than 84 percent as the country inches closer to energy self-sufficiency.

Unit 7 is expected to be commissioned in November this year while Unit 8 is expected to be ready in February next year.

Work began in August 2018 following a groundbreaking ceremony by President Mnangagwa.

The project has been progressing well despite challenges, especially those caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Turbines and generator sets for Unit 7 have been completed while the boiler is 93 percent complete.

Engineers expect to do dynamic testing of some of the sections this week paving the way for handover of the plant in November.

The Hwange Unit 7 and 8 expansion project is set to transform the country's electricity generation dynamics and guarantee the nation energy sufficiency with an addition of 600MW from the two new coal-fired units.

This will address the national power deficit and guarantee the socio-economic well-being of the nation by ensuring a balance between demand and power supply for day-to-day electricity usage at both domestic and industrial level.

The expansion project will go down as one of the greatest achievements under the Second Republic as it implements the National Development Strategy (NDS1) towards attaining aspirations of Vision 2030.

It is being carried out by the Zimbabwe Power Company for Government and Sino Hydro.

Project manager Engineer Forbes Chanakira said the project has progressed well and will meet timelines.

"Overall progress is 84.20 percent. Essentially, turbines and generator sets were completed for Unit 7 and are awaiting commencement of commissioning. The boiler is at around 93 percent completion and for the coal stockyard, we expect it to come on board in May.

"The Distributed Control System (DCS) that is responsible for controlling the boiler has been switched on. We expect to start hot commissioning end of July where we burn coal in the boiler to heat steam. It will run all the way up to November when we will do the unit handover," said Eng Chanakira.

"So far, the progress is encouraging and we are hitting the deadlines. We are also going to do a major milestone to energise all installed sets to do dynamic tests, and we expect that process by April 15 which is this week," he said.

Eng Chanakira said of the 875 transmission towers to be erected between Hwange and Bulawayo, around 810 have been installed.

A new 400KV line will be installed and run parallel to the existing lines on the 368km stretch between Hwange and Bulawayo.

The stretch was divided into three sections: from Bulawayo to Lupane, Lupane to Gwayi and Gwayi to Hwange where engineers are busy erecting towers among other construction work being done concurrently.

The target is to have completed erection of all the towers and Hwange and Insukamini substations next year.

Eng Chanakira said outstanding work on the power lines is erection of tension/support towers.

Work is also underway to relocate families that will be affected by the powerline.

President Mnangagwa recently commissioned the start of construction work on a 42km Deka water pipeline from Zambezi River, which is set to increase water supply to the power station from the current 3 500 cubic metres to 6 000 cubic metres                          per hour.

The 962mm pipe will run parallel to the existing 900mm pipe and will also see the Zimbabwe National Water Authority water plant at the river being refurbished.

There will be three off-take points along the way to feed communities with water for irrigation and domestic use.

The Deka pipeline is funded through a US$48,1 million line of credit from India Exim Bank and is being constructed by Afcons Infrastructure Limited.

The President said the pipeline will be completed in time for the commissioning of the Unit 7.

Source - The Herald
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