Zimbabwe’s power utility to finish new coal-fired units in 2022

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Getty Images

Zimbabwe's state-owned power utility expects to complete the addition of coal-fired units next year, bucking a global trend to reduce reliance on the fossil fuel. 

The $1.5 billion expansion by Zimbabwe Power Company and China's Sinohydro will finish one unit next year in September and another in December, adding 600 megawatts. That's intended to replace 920 megawatts of existing capacity prone to breakdowns, according to Forbes Chanakira, site manager for the Hwange Power Expansion project.

The government's strategy "is to ensure we improve the reliability of the existing coal plant while at the same time embracing renewable technology," Chankira told Bloomberg in an interview at the plant. 

The project, which has been in the works for years, demonstrates how some developing nations will continue burning coal until funding is made available by richer countries to switch to cleaner energy. Neighbouring South Africa is also completing some of the world's biggest stations that run on the fuel and would need $20 billion to retrofit its fleet to cut pollution. 

The Hwange plant in Western Zimbabwe has been flagged for emitting excessive pollutants and a flue gas desulfurisation unit will be installed, which will meet World Bank standards, according to Lucia Chibanda, an engineer with ZPC. 

China Eximbank will provide a 20-year loan of almost $1 billion at a 2% annual interest rate, Chanakira said. ZPC has to raise $315 million for project development costs from its own resources and loans from African Export-Import Bank and Standard Bank Group Ltd., he said.

The project is currently 72% complete after work slowed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
15.38
+0.2%
Rand - Pound
21.03
+0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.56
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.09
-0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.1%
Gold
1,817.69
0.0%
Silver
22.96
0.0%
Palladium
1,883.50
0.0%
Platinum
974.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
86.06
+1.9%
Top 40
68,448
-1.1%
All Share
75,160
-1.0%
Resource 10
74,434
-1.5%
Industrial 25
94,294
-1.0%
Financial 15
15,565
-0.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot