Construction of a US$14 million mini-hydro power plant at Lake Mutirikwi, a modest 5MW station, would be finished mid-next year and be the latest of a collection of small private stations feeding the national grid.
Local firm Great Zimbabwe Hydro Power Company has started work on the power plant at Zimbabwe’s second largest interior dam that is set for commissioning in June next year. The plant will generate 5MW to be fed into the national grid. This is around 0,5 percent the size of Kariba South, but every addition is useful.
The roll-out of the project was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the investor has now started works after the pandemic ebbed.
Great Zim Hydro’s investment comes as another endorsement of the Second Republic’s sound economic policies that are investor friendly.
The firm’s project is also testament that local companies are heeding President Mnangagwa’s rallying call that the country is only built by its owners,”nyika inovakwa nevene vayo.”
Work on the power plant has started with Great Zim Hydro subcontracting Goddard Construction to build access roads. Building of the roads is now already underway with Goddard having moved in equipment and stationed over 100 employees at the site at Lake Mutirikwi.
Great Zim Hydro Projects Coordinator Executive Mr Hubert Chipfumbu yesterday said his firm’s internal and external partners has helped the power project reach financial closure hence start of work.
“Work on the power plant already started with a contractor who is on site working on access roads which is the first phase of the project that will cost around US$14,2 million and is expected to be completed in June next year.”
Mr Chipfumbu said his company was committed to make a positive contribution in the lives of communities around Lake Mutirikwi who mainly comprise villages from Mugabe, Murinye and Chikwanda communal lands.
“We have something up our sleeves as a company and we will do it for these communities but we are not in a position to disclose anything now.
“We are however encouraged by President Mnangagwa’s exhortation that local firms should take the initiative to develop their own country.”
Under the second phase of the project that will succeed building of access roads, the project will now shift to major civil works that entails construction of power house and a pen stock to convey water to turn turbines in the former. The final phase will be building an evacuation stretching 25km that will be connected to a Zesa substation.
“We will build a 33 kg transmission line that will feed power into the national grid.”
According to Mr Chipfumbu his company had made a deliberate decision for its pool of unskilled workers to be drawn from communities around the dam.
The contractor doing access roads has already employed some locals who are amongst the over 100 now working on site.
Great Zim Hydro as now also employed an initial batch of 14 locals with the number set to shoot up as the project picks up and staggers towards completion.
Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira hailed the power generation project saying it was one of the low hanging fruits available for investors in the province.
The minister said the hydro power project would create jobs, increase supply of clean energy as Government angles towards an eco-friendly green economy that is envisioned under Vision 2030.
“The power project testifies to the enabling environment that has been created by President Mnangagwa’s administration for both locals Ann’s outsiders to do business in our country.