Zimbabwe News

ZESA seeks US$450 million to repower Hwange units 1 to 6

The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a ZESA Holdings subsidiary, requires US$500 million for the repowering of Hwange Power Station Units 1 to 6, an official at the power utility has said.

The repowering programme is expected to take four to five years to complete.

Addressing members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy who were on a fact-finding mission recently, ZPC general manager Shepherd Mukundu said they have borrowed US$50 million to kick-start the project. He said (via The Sunday News):

We are still talking to Exim Bank of India who are going to be the financier for that repowering initiative, it’s going to come in two tranches, one of them is US$310 million, and another one US$110 million which was originally meant for Bulawayo Power Station.

So, we have taken it upon ourselves to borrow money from Stanbic, a US$50 million facility to kick-start the repowering process such that when we eventually get funding from Exim Bank of India it will find us somewhere.

But what we would have wanted is to get all the money that we want so that we can then increase traction.

In addition to about 600 MW being generated by two new units (7 and 8), Units 1 to 6 are producing 420MW at most, according to Mukundu. He said:

In terms of power generation, our low-hanging fruit currently is the repowering of Units 1 to 6, we are producing 420MW which is not easy to sustain given the conditions of the plant but we thank God that we are doing that capacity currently.

One of the deliverables that we expect to see coming from repowering is increased capacity, increased reliability and also extension of life from 15 to 20 years that is what we seek to achieve in terms of repowering.

Mukundu also said ZPC has started using its own resources to finance the repowering. He said:

Our revenues remain subdued compared to critical obligations such as financing operations that include offsetting loans, spare parts purchase as well as the import bill. ZPC requires US$5 million for spare parts that are imported.

In the first quarter of 2024, Hwange Power Station generated 1 696.4 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity, accounting for 75.4 per cent of the total electricity generated during that period.

This comes as generation from Kariba Hydro-Power Station has continued to decline due to falling water levels in Kariba Dam, attributed to severe drought during the 2023/24 rainy season.

Kariba contributed 19.6 percent (440.5 GWh), and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) provided the remaining 5.1 percent.

On 21 June, Hwange was generating 929 MW, Kariba a paltry 292 MW, and IPPs were producing 23 MW.

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