The ongoing expansion of the Hwange Thermal Power Project – the Zimbabwe’s largest coal-powered facility – is expected to feed an additional 600MW into the national grid upon completion, reinvigorating the country’s industrial capacity as the plant’s installed capacity will increase from the current 920MW to 1 520MW.
Located in Matabeleland North Province, the thermal power station has been operational since 1987.
It’s expansion commenced in 2019 and is now 89% complete with Unit 7 expected to be completed by November this year while Unit 8 is scheduled for completion early next year.
The $1.5 billion expansion project is being bankrolled by China Exim Bank, Sino Hydro, Zimbabwe Power Company in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe.
Energy policy expert Engineer Edzai Kachirekwa has commended government on the successful implementation of the project noting that “the expansion of the Hwange Thermal Power Station is a game-changer for the energy sector and ultimately Zimbabwe’s economic prospects as it will enhance industrial capacity and boost several ancillary projects along the value chain. The project has already created more than 3000 downstream jobs which has empowered locals.”
He added that, “government’s move to revitalize small thermal power stations in Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati will further boost electricity generation which will ameliorate acute power shortages which have crippled industrial capacity.”
The additional thermal power stations will augment the country’s internal power generation capacity.
The initiative is premised on the pledge for universal access to clean, reliable and sustainable energy by 2030.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2020 launched government’s renewable energy policy aimed at plugging power shortfalls through enhancing the uptake of renewable energy options such as hydro, wind and solar energy.
Government, through the National Renewable Energy Policy, also aims to attain a 27 percent threshold on power generated from clean renewable energy sources by 2030.
The envisaged growth under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) 2021-2025 is anchored on the relative energy supply improvement to ensure sufficient reliable energy for all households and industrial use.