ZRA awards tender for construction of Batoka Hydroelectric power plant

Batoka Hydroelectric power plant

The Zambezi River Authority’s (ZRA) Council of Ministers has awarded the tender for the construction of the Batoka hydroelectric power plant to a consortium of General Electric of the United States and Power Construction Corporation of China under a build, operate and transfer funding model.

Formerly, the contractor was supposed to be chosen in September by the council which consists of ministers accountable for energy and finance in Zimbabwe and Zambia. However there was a shortage of power which affected both Zimbabwe and Zambia. Therefore there was an immediate need to award the tender to a company that was ready to handle the construction in order to speed up the process.

Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi, and his Finance and Economic Development partner, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Zambia’s Energy Minister, Matthew Nkhuwa, and his Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, were part of the ZRA council of ministers that granted the tender after signing a statement on behalf of both governments. The statement stressed on the need for quick action in order to solve the power shortage.

Also Read:Construction of US $4bn Batoka hydro power project to begin next year

Power crisis

The republics of Zimbabwe and Zambia were facing a power crisis which was made worse by the 2017-2018 hydrological season that saw very little rainfall being experienced in the region. As a result of the abnormal rainfall patterns in the current season, there are uncertainties about the seasons in the future. Measures therefore have to be taken to establish water addition and power generation.

The 2400MW Batoka power plant is a collaboration hydroelectric project between Zimbabwe and Zambia that will generate equal amounts of electricity for both nations from the Zambezi River.

The project, which has been under discussion for the past seven years, has shown significant resistance following the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding between Zimbabwean and Zambian presidents.

Both countries are doing everything possible to ensure the project is a total success. So far they have been focusing on feasibility studies to ensure that the project works on accurate and realistic conditions.

Construction of the Batoka hydro electricity scheme is set to begin next year. Both Zimbabwe and Zambia are working on the necessary documentation required before construction.

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