HomeBiggest projectsHwange Power Station expansion project latest update

Hwange Power Station expansion project latest update

The US$1.5 billion Hwange Power Station expansion project of Unit 7 and 8 is now at more than 84% as the country moves closer to energy self-sufficiency. Unit 7 is scheduled to be completed in November of this year, while Unit 8 is scheduled to be completed in February of next year.

Also Read: Burundi’s Jiji and Mulembwe Hydropower Plants 48% Complete

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Work began in August 2018, following President Mnangagwa’s groundbreaking ceremony. The project has proceeded effectively despite hurdles, particularly those induced by the Covid-19 epidemic. Unit 7’s turbines and generator sets have been built, and the boiler is 93 % complete. Engineers intend to conduct dynamic testing on some of the components this week, clearing the path for the plant’s handover in November.

With an increase of 600MW from the two new coal-fired units, the Hwange Unit 7 and 8 expansion project is projected to revolutionize the country’s power generation dynamics and ensure the nation’s energy sufficiency. This will alleviate the national power deficit while also guaranteeing the nation’s socioeconomic well-being by balancing demand and supply for day-to-day energy use at home and industrial levels. The extension project will be remembered as one of the most significant successes of the Second Republic since it implemented the National Development Strategy (NDS1) in order to realize Vision 2030 ambitions.

Development of the Hwange Power Station Expansion Project

The Hwange Power Station Expansion Project is being carried out for the government and Sino Hydro. Engineer Forbes Chanakira, project manager, stated that the project is doing well and will meet deadlines. The overall progress rate is 84.20 %. Essentially, turbines and generator sets for Unit 7 have been constructed and are awaiting commissioning. The boiler is about 93% complete and the coal stockyard is expected to be operational in May. The boiler’s control system, the Distributed Control System (DCS), has been activated. Hot commissioning, in which coal is used in the boiler to heat steam, is expected to begin by July. It will last until November when the unit will be handed off.

Eng Chanakira stated that about 810 of the 875 transmission towers built between Hwange and Bulawayo had been placed. On the 368km section between Hwange and Bulawayo, a new 400KV line will be built and run parallel to the current lines. The route has been separated into three sections: Bulawayo to Lupane, Lupane to Gwayi, and Gwayi to Hwange, where engineers are working on building towers alongside other construction work.

The towers and the Hwange and Insukamini substations are expected to be finished by next year. Eng Chanakira stated that installing tension/support towers is outstanding work on the power lines. Work is also being done to relocate the households impacted by the powerline. President Mnangagwa recently authorized construction on a 42-kilometre Deka water pipeline from the Zambezi River, which would raise water supplies to the power station from 3 500 cubic metres per hour to 6 000 cubic metres per hour.

The 962mm pipe will run parallel to the current 900mm pipe, and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority’s water facility on the river will be renovated. There will be three off-take locations along the way to provide water to communities for agricultural and home consumption. The Deka pipeline is being built by Afcons Infrastructure Limited and is being funded by a US$48,1 million line of credit from India Exim Bank. According to the President, the pipeline will be finished in time for Unit 7’s commissioning.


Hwange Power Station expansion project timeline

The US $1.5bn Hwange Power Station Expansion project, being carried out by Chinese firm Sinohydro, entails the addition of two power generating units; unit 7 and 8 to the existing 6 units that were commissioned between 1983 and 1987. Along with many others at various stages of implementation, the project is part of Zimbabwe’s efforts to find sustainable solutions to power shortages that are retarding industrial growth and curtailing economic growth.

September 2014

Zimbabwe to expand Hwange Power Station

Zimbabwe will now proceed to expand the coal-fired Hwange Power Station, after the country completed contract negotiations between the country’s national power company (ZPC) and Sino Hydro Corporation from China, for the expansion project. Partson Mbiriri, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development  has confirmed the completion of initiation of the contracts.

The project is set to start off once The State Procurement Board (SPB) finishes reviewing the initiated contract documents. The expansion was among the projects previously set to start  together with expansion of Kariba Power Station, whose ground breaking was done early September.

According to Energy and Power’s permanent secretary Partson Mbiriri they Zimbabwe government had come into an agreement to expand Hwange Power Station expansion and the project is yet to be completed within the set time. Hwange is the largest power plant in Zimbabwe, with a nameplate power capacity of about 750MW but only currently produces about 220 MW.

The government awarded the tender for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station to Sino Hydro Corporation recently, after another company – China Machinery Engineering Company – that had tendered failed to start off the project 14 months after it was awarded the contract.

The bid by Sino Hydro Corporation is valued at US$1.17 billion. China Machinery Engineering Company won the bid at US$ 1.38 billion. This comes at a time when the country is also adding two more power generating units at the Kariba power plant, to enable it generate a total of 600 megawatts (MW).

In addition to extending life of Hwange Thermal power plant, Zimbabwe also wants to repower small thermal plants in Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati. This will help the country cut down on current generation and installed capacity. This will also help the country ease struggle from power shortages in the national power utility.

Repowering of Bulawayo Power Station and Munyatishall be delayed for financial reasons according to Mbiriri. Harare Power 2 tender involving expansion of Harare plant was won by Jaguar Overseas Investments of India in a recent tender process.

December 2016

China’s Exim Bank boosts Zimbabwe’s Hwange power project

The Zimbabwean government has approved a US $1 billion loan facility from the Asian financial institution, Exim Bank of China, facilitating work to commence on the Hwange Power Project.

Minister of finance and economic development, Patrick Chinamasa, confirmed the development last week.

It is stated that the project is one of the numerous mega deals signed between Zimbabwe and China  which demonstrates the Asian nation’s dedication to do business with Harare.

The press reported that the permitted loan is estimated to be paid back over a 20-year phase with a grace interlude of seven years at an interest rate of 2% per annum.

The loan has also a commitment fee of 0, 25% per annum on the undrawn amount and management fee of the same percentage.

Also see:Zimbabwe to expand Hwange Power Station

Hwange Power Project form part of Zim-Asset

In his presentation before Parliament, Chinamasa said the project was consistent with Zim-Asset, a position that showed that government attached significance to the development of chief infrastructure in the nation, as well as energy.

The minister said the power project was being executed by Sino-Hydro Corporation Limited of China as the contractor.

“This special purpose vehicle that has been formed for the purposes of supervising the project development will be the Hwange Electricity Supply Company (HESCo). It shall be a partnership company between Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Sino-Hydro Corporation,” he clarifies.

The minister further clarified that in terms of an On-Lending Agreement, it is HESCo, that will take responsibility for settlement of the principal loan and interest from the profits of electricity sales with the project set to be realized over a phase of three and half years.

“The outlay for executing this project is US $1.48 billion of which, US $1.147 billion is the contract price. Of the contract price, 85% amounting to $997.7 million has been secured through the Preferential Buyer Credit Loan Agreement fulfilled with China Exim Bank.

“In turn, China Exim Bank has asked the contractor, Sino-Hydro Corporation, to infuse $176 million representing 15% of the contract price as equity into the project,” Chinamasa said.

The minister stated that the expansion of the two power generation units, would supply an extra 600MW of power to the national grid, in adding up to 920MW, giving a collective figure of 1,520MW.

In conclusion, Chinamasa said it was vital that government permitted viable tariffs to guarantee competitiveness both to the producer and the consumer.

February 2017

Zimbabwe Seeks Funding for Hwange Power expansion Deal

The Ministry of Energy and Power Development of Zimbabwe is seeking US$300 million to  reach financial closure for the expansion of the Hwange Power Station before the end of the first quarter.

Also read:Zimbabwe to expand Hwange Power Station

The expansion project’s expected cost is $1,5 billion and will have the country’s largest coal fired power station adding two units to give a combined generation capacity of 600 megawatts (MW). The project will be undertaken by Chinese firm, Sinohydro Corporation.

The deal which was signed in 2014, has the Zimbabwe Power Station (ZPC), a subsidiary of ZESA Holdings, getting 80% of the funding ($1,17 billion) through concessionary funding from China Exim Bank.

One of the conditions set by the Chinese Bank is for Zimbabwe to provide the balance of about $300 million before the financial closure is reached.

The project is expected  to develop transmission infrastructure to enable power evacuation from Hwange Power Station. New substations will also be constructed at Hwange and Sherwood , while new transmission lines will be constructed from Hwange to Insukamini in Bulawayo.

Also read:China’s Exim Bank boosts Zimbabwe’s Hwange power project

Other requirements to be met by the Zimbabwean Government to access the funding include a debt service reserve agreement outlining the operation of the debt service reserve account between government, Hwange Electricity Supplier Company (HESCO), and China Exim Bank.

This special purpose vehicle was established to build unit 7 and 8 at Hwange Power Station. Included in the outline of the agreement is the operation of the Escrow account, security cession agreement between government and HESCO transferring the reserve account to China Exim Bank.

There is also a coal supply agreement between HESCO and Makomo Resources  and limestone supply agreement between HESCO and PPC (Zimbabwe) to be met. The ratification of the loan agreement between government and the China Eximbank , by Parliament was done in December 2016.

Zimbabwe is also working on many other power projects which include expanding the Kariba South Hydroelectric Power Station, re-powering small thermal power stations in Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare and also pursuing establishment of solar power plants.


Reported June 2018

Hwange Suburb to pave way for more units at Hwange power Station

The Hwange Power Station is to undergo a capacity extension project undertakeen by Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) that will see the addition of two generating units,each producing 300MW, to the already available unit that is operating at just above 550MW .

The company has secured 500 residential stands from Hwange Local Board to construct a new suburb that will accommodate residents from an old suburb that are set to be displaced by the new power plant.The construction of the houses, according to Eng Chivaura will be complete by mid-2019.

Zimbabwe has embarked on power generation expansion to meet the country’s power requirements as well as an anticipated industrial growth under the new political dispensation’s thrust to promote the opening up of the economy and the ease of doing business.

Also read:Lagos to begin Embedded Power project in July 2018

The expansion will, however, affect Ingagula suburb whose location falls foul of the usual wind direction, leaving the suburb at the risk of dangerous emissions coming from the power generation process.

Power supply guarantee

Besides being a project of national interest that will further guarantee power supply to the country as well as cutting on power imports, power generation has been beneficial to Hwange residents.

To date, some parts of Hwange get part of its water supplies from ZPC’s Deka water pipeline, which principally pumps water on an over 40 kilometre distance from the Zambezi River to Hwange Power Station for electricity generation.

The power generator’s water contribution to the town is also going to increase after the construction of a second water pipeline that will cater for the power plant’s expansion drive.

February 2019

Extension project for US $2b Hwange Power Station begins

Construction on Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority’s (ZESA’s) Hwange Power Station (HPS) 7 and 8 extension project has has commenced.

Engineer Patrick Chivaura, ZESA’s acting Chief Executive confirmed the reports and said that the project which is being carried out by Chinese energy systems giant, Sino Hydro, will add 600MW to the current installed power generation capacity of 920MW.

“All preparations have been completed and actual construction works of the Hwange Power Station are underway,”  said Mr. Chivaura.

Mr. Patrick further affirmed that the project which is expected to take 42 months, will be completed within time and original budget of US $2bn. The coal-fired expansion project costs US $2bn with a US $1bn contribution from China’s Exim Bank through a loan facility. Eng. Chivaura stated that they have done their first drawn down of the China loan and granted and are confident that that the project will completed in time and on budget.

Also Read:Tanzania allocates US $8.7m for Lake Ngozi geothermal project

Hwange expansion project

The expansion project is expected to create more than 7 000 jobs directly and indirectly. 100 workers would be recruited on a 36 months fixed contract for the extension project. The project also requires engineers in mechanical, electrical, control and instrumentation, quality and risk as well as other administrative jobs that include logistics.

The project will also supply an additional 30% of power generation capacity in the country with a current peak period demand of 1600MW and a supply of 1400MW. The deficit is met through imports from Mozambique and South Africa

Notably, Sinohydro undertook the capacity extension works at Kariba South Power Station units 7 and 8, which added 300MW to the station’s previous capacity of 750MW. President Mnangagwa commissioned the plant in March last year.

Until the completion of Kariba South extension project, Zimbabwe imported between 350MW and 400MW, using scarce foreign currency resources, to bridge its internal power supply deficit.

October 2019

Refurbishment of Hwange thermal power station unit 6 in Zimbabwe begins

Refurbishment works on Hwange thermal power station unit 6 in Zimbabwe has begun and is estimated to cost US $3.6m.

The national electricity company Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) revealed the report and said that completion of the works will pave way for the Zimbabwe Power Company to embark on another US $28m major project to extend the lifespan of Unit 3.

The refurbishment exercises comes at a time when Hwange Power Station is on course to expand the power plant through constructing Units 7 and 8 with an additional capacity of 600MW.

“There are two approaches on Hwange; the first is to bring back Unit six and the second is to hold out Unit three major overhaul. Unit six expected to be completed in December,” said Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister, Magna Mudyiwa.

Also Read:Construction of first geothermal power plant at Menengai Crater, Kenya, to begin in December

Hwange Thermal Power Station

Hwange Thermal Power Station is the biggest power plant in Zimbabwe with an installed capacity of 920 MW. It is owned and driven by the national electricity company Power utility, Zesa. Construction of the first stage units began in 1973, which were commissioned from 1983 to 1986, and was followed by second stage units in 1987.

Due to deterioration the plant, it was only capable of generating 327MW. This resulted to the rehabilitation and expansion of units. The deal aims at easing Zimbabwe’s long-standing power generation deficiency, which provides around 1,000MW against average demand of 1,400 MW or more.

Zimbabwe is facing electricity shortages as a result to low level generation capability at major stations like Kariba, Harare and Bulawayo. The Kariba station has been plagued by low tide levels whereas the stations within the two metropolitan provinces haven’t been obtaining adequate coal provides.

The country has been relying on power imports to complement its electricity generation capacity and is producing averages of 1 000 MW against a demand of about 1 500 MW. In a bid to boost future electricity offer, Government has been licensing independent power producers with a bias towards solar projects.


December 2019

Hwange Power Station expansion project in Zimbabwe now at 25%

Expansion works at Hwange Thermal Power Station now stands at 25%, 14 months into the project. Upon completion the project is expected to add 600MW into the national grid by 2022.

The US $1.5bn project, being carried out by Chinese firm Sinohydro, entails the addition of two power generating units; unit 7 and 8 to the existing 6 units that were commissioned between 1983 and 1987. Along with many others at various stages of implementation, the project is part of Zimbabwe’s efforts to find sustainable solutions to power shortages that are retarding industrial growth and curtailing economic growth.

According to the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), most excavation work had been completed including for the cooling tower, the boiler house and the chimney. “We have completed all the excavations up to foundation level for Hwange 7 and 8,” the ZPC said.

The power company has confirmed that they are still on schedule to finish the project on time. The whole project will take up to 42 months to complete, but unit 7 is expected to start firing by April 2021 while unit 8 will follow later on.

Also Read:AfDB decides not to fund Kenya’s coal-fired power plant project

Zimbabwe’s largest coal plant

Hwange Power Station is Zimbabwe’s largest coal-fired power generator with production capacity of 920MW. But because of old age, the plant’s current dependable capacity is around 600MW. In addition to the Kariba South Hydro-power Extension Project, which was completed in March 2018, the Hwange expansion project is expected to substantially add to the national power grid and lift the nation out of the current power woes.

Zimbabweans are having to endure long hours of load shedding every day due to depressed generation capacity and limited ability to import power from regional neighbours.

Reported March 2020

Renovations at Hwange power station in Zimbabwe stalls

Renovations at the Hwange Thermal Power Station in Zimbabwe have stalled due to travel restrictions on Chinese nationals into the country following outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19), Zimbabwe’s Energy Minister Fortune Chasi has confirmed.

The Minister revealed that Chinese nationals employed by contractors working on Hwange’s 6, 7 and 8 Units were still holed up in China meaning very little is being done to alleviate the power crisis that has troubled the country since last year.

“Renovations at Hwange are ongoing but they have been affected by the Coronavirus. A significant number of the contractors’ staff is still in China, but we have no doubt that will come to pass and we will cruise at lightning speed towards completion of the project,” said Chasi. This comes a few weeks after Chinese Ambassador Guo Shaochun pleaded with the Asian economic giant’s businesspeople operating in Zimbabwe to allow their workers to stay in China until the raging virus is contained.

Refurbishment of Hwange thermal power station unit 6 in Zimbabwe begins

Also Read: New studies to be carried out on the viability of Akiira geothermal project

Increased water levels

Chasi added water levels at Lake Kariba had risen to 11. 3 percent from a critical 6 percent last year after the January rains. He however said load shedding being experienced among Zimbabweans will not be stopping anytime soon. “So far we are happy that the inflows in Kariba have improved, that is different from saying there is going to be a resultant power increase but we are happy. We believe that the months of March and April will see some significant gains in terms of megawatts,” said Chasi. Zimbabweans have been made to endure long hours of load shedding after poor rainfalls in the 2018 season.

COVID-19, which broke out in China’s Wuhan City, has already claimed over 3 220 lives in 94 257 cases. It has since spread to other countries in the world with Africa having recorded its first victim in Egypt only recently.

Reported in July 2021

600 MW Hwange expansion project in Zimbabwe at 68% complete

The Hwange expansion project in Zimbabwe is now 68% complete. The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) revealed that that major milestones have been achieved despite setbacks due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The US $1.5bn Hwange expansion project, is part of Zimbabwe’s efforts to find sustainable solutions to power shortages that are retarding industrial growth and curtailing economic growth. The power station is the largest coal-fired power generator with production capacity of 920MW. However, due to old age, the plant’s current dependable capacity is around 600MW. Zimbabweans have to endure hours of unloading every day due to the depressed generation capacity and limited ability to import power from regional neighbours.

The expansion works involves addition of two power generating units; unit 7 and 8 to the existing 6 units that were commissioned between 1983 and 1987. The development is being carried out by Chinese firm Sinohydro and the two units are expected to add a combined 600MW to the national grid.

“Despite the setbacks in timelines of the project completion dates due to of Covid-19 Pandemic, we achieved a number of noteworthy milestones. These include completion of the cooling tower shell, installation of the generator stators for Unit 7 and 8, tower erection on the transmission and distribution side and installation of stream turbines. Upon completion, we shall have self-sufficiency in electricity generation and reduction in electricity imports. The project will also serve as an enabler for economic growth with 10% of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract transfer to local resources, transfer the skills of foreign colleagues to local communities, and create about 5,000 jobs, translating to 1 300 foreigners and 3 600 locals,” said ZPC in a statement

Reported November 2021

Zimbabwe’s Hwange Power Station Expansion Almost Complete

According to the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), the Hwange Power Station expansion project began in the third quarter at 67,97%, is currently 72,18% complete. Due to the difficulties connected to Covid-19, the estimated completion dates would be prolonged even further.

ZPC, on the other hand, claimed in a statement that it has been performing well and has achieved milestones. However, because of the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic, which resulted in low levels of workers on-site due to travel restrictions, the expansion of the Hwange Power Station is behind schedule.

Also Read: Construction of Chikurubi Secondary School begins In Zimbabwe

The Deka Upgradation Project

The Deka Upgradation Project which is to supply water to the Power station has also made progress for ZPC.

The contractor has deployed the site in preparation for the project’s start, with equipment at Zimbabwe’s ports of entry, a contractor’s camp set up, and other construction preparations underway.

Stringing of the new transmission and distribution line from Hwange to Sherwood substation, as part of the Expansion Project, began in July 2021, and a distance of around 120 kilometers out of 360 kilometers has been completed to date.

With this activity in place, a number of homes on the transmission line wayleave from Hwange to Insukamini, commonly known as Project Affected Persons (PAPs), are in the process of being moved under the ZPC Relocation Action Programme (RAP).

At the Hope Fountain, Mazwi, Kloof, Stevenson Farm, Epping Forest, Sawmills, Gwayi Siding, Bambanani, and Chezhou locations, construction of new residences for the affected parties began in August of this year. The project is planned to be completed in December 2021.

In the meantime, ZPC is working on relocating inhabitants of Ingagula. Land for the relocation project has already been purchased in Empumalanga’s low and medium density areas, with work set to begin in the first quarter of 2022.

The corporation has declared that there will be no interruption in power delivery after the projects are completed.

The $1.5 billion Hwange Power Station extension project is part of Zimbabwe’s efforts to find long-term solutions to the country’s power constraints, which are stifling industrial development and limiting economic progress.

With a capacity of 920MW, the power station is the world’s largest coal-fired power plant.

The plant’s current reliable capacity is roughly 600MW due to its age.

Due to low generating capacity and a restricted ability to import electricity from regional neighbors, Zimbabweans still face hours of unloading every day.

November 2021

Hwange Expansion project to Add 600MW to grid next year

Zhemu Soda, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, has stated that the Hwange expansion project will be operational by July and September 2022, respectively, adding 600MW to the national grid.

At the cost of US$1.5 billion, the Hwange expansion project comprises the building of two 300MW units to supplement the current 920MW Hwange Power Station.

Also Read: Zimbabwe DDF gears for massive projects

Minister Soda stated the expected economic development under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) is founded on relative energy supply improvement, speaking at an event to launch the Old Mutual Solar Plant.

He noted that work is underway to restore Hwange’s other units 1 to 6, which have outlived their useful lives while considering the move away from fossil fuel energy.

The Hwange Expansion project, which Chinese business Sinohydro is carrying out, was supposed to be finished by October this year, but it was delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, which caused a shortage of staff on-site due to travel restrictions.

Commissioning of the Old Mutual Solar Plant

The commissioning of the Old Mutual Solar Plant, according to Minister Soda, comes at a time when President Mnangagwa is representing the country at a major global summit on climate change adaptation and resilience.

He stated that the government is glad that businesses have responded positively to its request for internal power generating capacity investments using renewable energy sources. The country is dedicated to ensuring universal access to clean, dependable, and sustainable energy by 2030.

He went on to say that the government had worked hard to create a favorable climate for renewable energy sources and that President Mnangagwa had announced the Renewable Energy Policy in 2020, which is critical to achieving Vision 2030.

He further stated that multiple independent power projects of all sizes have been coming up on the national grid, with a total of 52 independent power producers linked to the national grid as of September 31, 2021.

Minister Soda stated that the ministry has implemented electricity net metering for people who supply the national grid through a banking agreement with ZETDC and that the power bank may be withdrawn as required.

Between 2005 and 2014, he added that 400 solar microgrids were installed in schools under the Rural Electrification Fund.

The majority of them are now being renovated to guarantee that they can produce enough electricity to meet modern demands.

The bulk of institutions will be improved from 0,84 KW to 85, or 10 KW depending on the institution. This upgrade initiative will involve 347 primary schools, 57 secondary schools, and 10 government institutions from 2021 to 2025.

Minister Soda stated that the ministry has completed the net metering rules revisions to Statutory 86 of 2018 and will be published shortly.

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Dennis Ayemba
Country/ Features Editor, Kenya


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