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Lake Mutirikwi hydro power plant nears completion

by Staff reporter
03 Mar 2024 at 08:45hrs | Views
THE US$14,6 million hydro power plant that has a rated output of five megawatts of electricity that will be added to the national grid is now 70 percent complete and is expected to be commissioned in May, it has been confirmed.

The project is one of the many home grown solutions to the country's energy insufficiency and is expected to go a long way in alleviating the electricity crisis that the country has been grappling with.

Speaking to Sunday News in an interview, Masvingo Provincial Development Coordinator Dr Addmore Pazvakavambwa said they were excited at the development and the pace at which it was moving.

He said the project was one of the many transformative projects that were done in the province by the Second Republic as it sought to boost the country's power generation capacity.

"We are excited at the development. The project will feed into the national grid so by and large this will improve the electricity situation in the country and of course this also has a net effect of improving the provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

"The power plant has a rated output of 5MW and is done at total project cost of US$14,6 million. The other important thing to note is that the project is almost hundred percent local where the project developer — MOL Hydropower is a Zimbabwean company while the funder — Frontier Energy (Denmark) came in form of foreign direct investment. Old Mutual Life Assurance Company and local fund managers for the Public Service Commission and ZB Holdings are the main contributors," said Dr Pazvakavambwa.

He said the first phase of the actual construction of the hydro power plant started in March 2022 with the access road construction which was done to successful completion by JR Goddard — a local construction company taking about seven months to complete.

Dr Pazvakavambwa said the second phase saw the main civil works component that was awarded to Masimba Construction, yet another local contractor.

"This included the construction of the power house and the penstock supporting anchor blocks. All anchor blocks are complete with the power house at 80 percent complete while the overhead crane that was supplied from China is now in place," he said.

He noted that the project was now in its third and final phase where the transmission line construction was ongoing.

"This is undertaken by Ralton Electric, another local company and work progress is around 70 percent to completion. Laying of penstock, the pipe that traverses from the lake to the power house is in progress.

"Dam interfacing and pipe welding is also in progress and we expect the project to be commissioned in May this year," he said.

The Second Republic has put in place a raft of measures to ensure steady supply of electricity across the country with the refurbished Hwange Thermal Power Station Units 7 and 8 having been completed.

Since then the country has witnessed reduced load shedding while industry is expected to pick up production from the previously subdued capacity that was caused by lack of electricity.  

Irrigation schemes and farmers have also been assured of constant supply of electricity as the country moves  towards the attainment of an upper-middle income by 2030.

Source - The Sunday News