16 January 2013

Zimbabwe: U.S.$300 Million Required for Power Plants Refurbishment

THE Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) requires US$300 million to refurbish the country's three small thermal power stations, part of which will be funded by the Indian government, The Financial Gazette's Companies & Markets (C&M) can report.

ZPC managing director, Noah Gwariro, said Bulawayo, Harare and Munyati power stations need upgrading to enhance generation capacity.

WAPCOS, an Indian company that provides expert advice in the power sector, had done feasibility studies for the upgrade of the three power stations, he told C&M.

"We are looking for about US$300 million to refurbish the three power plants and we will be securing 280MW," said Gwariro in an interview.

He revealed the Indian government would fund the rehabilitation at Bulawayo Power station while the local private sector would participate in the upgrading of the Harare Power station.

Harare Power station is currently shut down due to low coal stocks.

"We have put Bulawayo Power station in the pipeline for funding by the Indian government. Our Ministry (of Energy and Power Development) has supported this initiative. For Harare Power station, we are going to tender very soon to get an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor who can provide part of the funding and do the technical work of rehabilitating the plant. We look forward for the participation by the local private sector in this project," said Gwariro.

He indicated that Munyati would be leased by Essar Holdings, which acquired the Kwekwe-based Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company from government in 2010.

Gwariro said the refurbishment exercise would take about two years to complete, adding that Harare Power station would be the first to be rehabilitated.

"We are anticipating that once we start, these projects will take about two years to complete.

That will make sure we have more power from the small thermals and the extension of their lives to another 20 years.

"Harare Power station will be the first one as we have already approached the State Procurement Board (SPB) to authorise the tender and I think in the first quarter of 2013, there should be tendering for the Harare Power plant," said Gwariro. To C5

"For Bulawayo, we intend to refurbish 90MW while at Munyati we are looking at producing 100MW. For Harare, we are looking at 120MW.The estimated cost of refurbishment is at the rate of US$1million per megawatt," added Gwariro.

Zimbabwe requires 2 200MW of electricity at peak periods but currently generates plus or minus 1 000MW.

ZPC last month signed an EPC contract with Sino Hydro Corporation for the expansion of the Kariba South Power plant and work on the power station is expected to begin this year.

The expansion exercise will add 300MW to the national grid.

The winning bidder for the country's largest coal-fired power station, Hwange, is expected to be announced soon.

The State Procurement Board has narrowed down the number of bidders vying to expand Hwange Power station for an additional 600MW to two.

The two remaining bidders are Sino Hydro Corporation and China National Machinery Corporation.

As of Friday last week, production at all power stations was at 764MW, according to the ZPC official website.

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