Zimbabwe commissions Chinese-built power plant

Updated 2018-03-29 09:40:04 Xinhua

Photo taken shows the Kariba dam on March 28, 2018. The project was done by China's hydro power firm Sinohydro.(Xinhua/Shaun Jusa)

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday commissioned the 533-million-U.S.-dollar Kariba South Hydro Power expansion project, arguably the country's biggest power development project since independence in 1980.

The project is expected to ease power shortages for the country that has faced perennial power shortages due to ageing plants and has had to rely on imports to plug the shortfall.

The project, which entailed the addition of 2x150 MW units, was done by China's hydro power engineering and construction firm, Sinohydro from 2014.

The first unit was completed and started feeding into the national grid in December 2017 while the test run for the second unit was completed two weeks ago.

The expansion project has lifted the power plant's installed capacity from 750 MW to 1,050 MW, making it the country's biggest power plant at present.

Mnangagwa said the completion of the project was an exciting development for the country.

"I am so pleased as I talk to Zesa engineers and their colleagues from China that they worked together from day one...and then the implementation of designs and project they have worked harmoniously to achieve this feat.

"It's a great wonder and it shows what we can achieve as a government in collaboration with other institutions to access technology from our friends. We now have 300 MW transmitted into our grid henceforth which we will deduct from our importation of power. This is the way to go," Mnangagwa said.

He thanked China for providing Zimbabwe with state-of-the-art power engineering and technology.

"We assure you that our engineers and technicians are going to maintain this asset for the benefit of our country," he said.

"The cost of this project is around 533 million dollars and it's money well spend, " he addded.

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