Hwange Thermal Station expansion project fired-up to 63% in Q1’21

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  • Expansion project closed the first quarter 62% complete
  • The project will see the plant’s capacity increasing to 1.520 MW

Harare – Hwange Thermal Power Station, the biggest coal-fired power facility in Zimbabwe says the expansion programme closed the first quarter at 62.5%, adding a 600 MW capacity which is lower than the planned progress of 86% as the project was affected by interim payment certificates and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The US$1.5 billion expansion project which will see the plant’s capacity increasing to 1.520 MW, is being undertaken by Zimbabwe Power Company a subsidiary of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Company (ZESA) and Chinese state-owned hydro-power engineering company Sinohydro.

In an update on the first quarter performance, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) said the period under review was challenging as generation at Hwange was depressed.

“We produced 745.7 Gigawatt hours against a target of 1813,02 GWh, representing a negative variance of 3,7% and the output was however, 34.9% above the output for the same period” the company said.

Taking a closer look at the projects being undertaken by ZPC, Hwange 7 and 8 Power Station Expansion Project, which is expected to add 600MW to the national grid, registered progress of 58.3% at the beginning of the quarter and closed at 62.5%.

The project was affected by Interim Payment Certificate (IPC) outstanding payments as well as effects of Covid-19. Significant milestones in the quarter included arrival and hoisting of Unit 7 and 8 generator transformers, tower erection as well as steam turbine installation.

China EXIM Bank agreed to provide a loan of $1.2bn for the expansion project in December 2015 and also the government of India promised to provide a line of credit of $310 in November 2017, furthermore the Standard bank South Africa and Afreximbank offered to provide $40m and $76m respectively to help in the project which was supposed to commence in November 2017 but was affected by hiccups along the way hence resuming progress this year.

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