Zimbabwe – Zesa Holdings, Zimbabwe’s power utility is seeking to raise USD128 million to finance the construction of the 30 MW Gairezi hydropower station.
This was reported recently by the country’s state run daily The Herald.
There has been little progress on the hydropower project ever since the tender was awarded in 2015 to a consortium of two Indian companies (Angelique International and Bharat Heavy Equipment Limited) and one Zimbabwean company (Intratek Zimbabwe).
In a move that will see the hydropower project being constructed at a reduced cost the initial contract was amended in 2018 to exclude Intratek Zimbabwe from the three company consortium.
“The power utility has since made an application to the African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) for the requisite funding and the regional bank is reportedly evaluating the application,” The Herald reported.
Zesa pointed out that the construction of the Gairezi hydropower project will start as soon as funds are secured as Zimbabwe’s government was keen to ensure the country becomes energy sufficient.
Already the country has secured a USD1,1 billion facility for a 600 MW expansion of its Hwange thermal power station. As well the country has recently seen the completion of capacity extension at Kariba South hydropower station in 2018.
The Herald also reported that Zesa spokesman, Fullard Gwasira, said that some of the initial preparatory works for the Gairezi project had been completed and the power utility was now seeking to raise the requisite funding.
Gwasira was also quoted saying engaging the Indian equipment supplier and technical partner directly in executing the project will see the State power utility delivering the hydropower station at a low cost.
The Gairezi project has been on the cards from as far back as the early 2000s when the first feasibility study for the project was done by a company called Norconsult and later redone by Indian firm Wapcos.
To date the project has seen the completion of significant preliminary works which include including topographic survey, geo-tech survey, generation licence and environmental impact assessment.
Zimbabwe which is seeking to reduce its power generation deficit which is met by imports from South Africa and Mozambique has also already issued several independent power producer licences to private companies. In addition the country has also entered into a joint venture with Zambia to develop the 2 400MW Batoka Gorge hydropower plant.