The construction of Batoka Hydro Power Plant in Zimbabwe is set to commence in 2017. The plant will be built on the Zambezi River along the Zimbabwe-Zambia border.
Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister, Samuel Undenge, told journalists in Harare last week that the feasibility studies are expected to be completed by June this year.
“This is a joint project between Zimbabwe and Zambia and with the good progress of the feasibility studies, the project will start next year as we look forward to add more megawatts to our national grid,” Undenge said.
The World Bank is the chief financier of the project which is expected to generate 2,400 megawatts of electricity.
According to Undenge, the debt Zimbabwe owed the Central African Power Corporation (Capco) has been closed in a bid to give way for smooth cooperation between the two countries.
The debt with the corporation accrued during the construction of the Kariba Dam.
The government has attributed power shortage across the country to declining water levels at Kariba Dam.
Critics however say that lack of proper planning and poor management of the Kariba Dam has led to the current power supply problems which have rocked both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), through its subsidiary Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), allegedly exhausted its water usage limits by huge volumes resulting in an unprecedented decline of water levels in the dam.
Zimbabwe’s current electricity need per day amounts to 2,200 megawatts but the country is generating less than half the requirement.
Cabinet minister Undenge has been under criticism for fire allegedly failing to improve electricity supplies in the country and subsequently failing to establish new power generation projects.
The Harare government has however agreed billion dollar deals with China for the upgrade of a number of power plants. The projects are expected to be completed over the next few years.