Chinese group wins big Harare power tender
A contract worth $1.3bn awarded to China Machinery Engineering for the expansion of the Hwange thermal power station is expected to deliver a boost to Zimbabwe’s power generation, but not before midyear elections. Zimbabwe has a power deficit of about 700MW, engineers with knowledge of power consumption trends said on Thursday. Analysts at Business Monitor International said Zimbabwe had “peak energy consumption requirements of 2,200MW” and generating capacity of 1,504MW.
Refurbishment of the Kariba power plant will add 300MW, while expansion of Hwange power station will add about 600MW. But there are concerns elections later this year may delay the expansion of the Hwange plant.
“As the tender was awarded, work can begin any time, but as you know the state of our economy in the face of elections I don’t think much will happen soon,” consultant engineer Tafadzwa Manyara said on Thursday.
Chinese companies have been winning big construction projects in Zimbabwe, with China’s Avic Construction International this week being awarded a tender to build the Tokwe Mukorsi Dam at a cost of $445m.
Details of funding for the Hwange power station were not available. Experts say it is possible the Chinese group would fund the project, although the state may fund the project through a loan from regional financiers.
Zimbabwe Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma said he had not been briefed on the $1.3bn deal. A Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority unit, the Zimbabwe Power Company, said: “No date has been set on when the contractor would move onto the site.