ZPC gets license for 120MW Mutare power plant
Harare (New Ziana)– The Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Authority (Zera) said on Thursday it had granted the country’s main electricity generator, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a licence to build a 120 MW power plant in Mutare.
The plant is expected to be completed by 2022.
ZPC, a subsidiary of power utility Zesa Holdings, owns the country’s main power plants such as Kariba and Hwange.
According to the license, issued on 23 July, 2019, the plant will be called the Mutare Peaking Power Station.
“The generation license is hereby granted to the Zimbabwe Power Company in terms of Section 42 of the Electricity Act to construct,own, operate and maintain 120MW Emergency/Peaking Power Plant called Mutare Peaking Power Station at Orange Groove Farm at Feruka in Mutare, Manicaland Province for the purposes of generation and supply of electricity,” reads part of the license issued by acting Zera chief executive, Eddington Mazambani.
Peaking stations are designed to balance fluctuating power requirements on the electricity grid and normally are switched on in emergency situations, during periods when there is a high demand for power.
Zimbabwe generally has two peak periods per day – early mornings and early evening.
ZPC’s business development manager, Bernad Chizengeya early this week told New Ziana the plant was not very different from the 100MW Dema emergency power plant run by Sakunda.
“The only difference is that the Mutare plant is envisaged to initially run on diesel and then later on gas,” he said.
Dema is currently not being used despite the country battling an acute power shortage due to misgivings over pricing.
Zesa signed an agreement worth over US$100 million for the setting up
of the Mutare plant with local firm, Helcraw Electrical Private Limited in December 2015.
The agreement covered equipment provision costs, installation, commissioning and technical assistance.
Helcraw said in 2016 it had obtained funding for the project from the
African Import and Export Bank.
The project, however, stalled for over two years owing to a dispute between the two parties, which later necessitated a revision of the project costs.
The Mutare peaking station is among seven new projects lined up between now and 2027 expected to add an additional 2250MW to the national grid as part of efforts to augment supplies, which have dwindled to critical levels.
Zesa is currently banking on power imports from neighbouring countries
to light up the nation as its plants have failed to meet demand.
The nation has had to contend with power rationing of up to 18 hours a day due to the power shortages, mainly caused by drought which affected hydro-power generation, and plant breakdowns at the coal fired plant at Hwange.