THE Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) is in talks with a Chinese Bank keen to finance the expansion of Hwange Power Station, a government official told an energy efficiency conference last week.
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Partson Mbiriri, Energy and Power Development permanent-secretary said the Chinese bank was prepared to take equity up to 40% to bankroll the construction of two additional units of 300MW each.
A ZPC team is in China to follow-up on a similar initiative by top government officials to tie loose ends on a deal to finance Kariba South expansion.
The government delegation that included Finance minister Tendai Biti, met China Exim Bank where it lodged the final document that would lead to financial closure on the funding for Kariba South expansion.
“The biggest bank in China said we have the money and are prepared to participate in anything on Hwange if all the proposals are right. They said they are prepared to work with the contractor,” Mbiriri said.
The expansion of Hwange Power Station will cost over US$1 billion. The thermal station has an installed capacity of 920MW but currently generating 525MW. Kariba South expansion is set to chew US$400 million and result in the generation of additional 300MW.
The expansion of the two power stations is meant to increase the generation capacity, which is currently inadequate to meet the local demand. ZPC generates an average of 1200MW which is insufficient to meet demand that can go up to as high as 1600MW.
Mbiriri said the ministry was concerned with both the losses on transmission and generation inefficiencies. He said Phase one under Zim-Fund would target replacing 600 transformers and switching gears on the transmission network.
“Quite a lot of the so-called load shedding is coming out of faults because many of the transformers and switch gears are old technology,” Mbiriri said.