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.
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.