Source: Tokwe-Mukosi power station takes shape – Sunday News Mar 26, 2017
Gabriel Masvora recently in Chivi
ITALIAN contractor, Salini Impregilo, has started excavation work on the site where a 15 megawatt power station will be constructed at the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo which will boost availability of power and make further use of the water in the country’s largest inland dam.
The custodians of the dam, Zinwa, awarded the tender to the construction company, which also constructed the dam.
In an interview, Tokwe-Mukosi resident Engineer Paul Dengu said the excavation work started last Wednesday and is expected to be completed in three months.
“The contract was awarded to the same contractor Salini. The contractor will do excavation only because it involves some blasting which might affect the adjacent structures so for liability purposes we said can they as well do the excavations,” he said.
Eng Dengu said the appointment of the electromechanical contractor who will fit the power installations required for the power station will be done after the excavation is complete.
“The process is still ongoing but I think in three months we should have someone on the ground.”
The process of building the power station is expected to gobble about $7 million. The power station which is built near one of the two spillways at the giant structure will supply power both to the dam and all its surroundings with plans to include most of the irrigation schemes and farmers that will benefit from the water. Surplus power will also be sold to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company. Off take arrangements are also expected to be negotiated with mining companies such as Renco and Unki.
In an interview, Power and Energy Development Minister Samuel Undenge said although the power station at Tokwe-Mukosi will be under Zinwa which is under the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Change, it was Government policy to ensure that it boosts power generation in the country by setting up power stations at major water bodies in the country.
“It is Government policy that we take advantage of any water body to have electricity generation and yes, the one at Tokwe-Mukosi is one of them,” said Dr Undenge.
Hydrological generated power is the cheapest form of electricity compared to thermally generated. Dr Undenge, however, said it will be up to Zinwa as the owners of the dam and the power station to determine how the electricity that will be generated at the dam will be used.
Zimbabwe is exploring a number of avenues to boost its power generation as internal generation capacity is failing to meet demand. The country needs around 2 200 MW at peak consumption, but generates just under 1 300 MW due to increased demand, ageing equipment and a lack of investment.
The country is importing power from Eskom in South Africa to cover for the deficit bit this is seen as a short term as the whole southern Africa region is also also facing power shortages. Power deficit in the Southern African Development community is around 6 000 megawatts as the countries are only producing 47 000 MW against a demand of 53 000 MW. The region is expected to add 30 000 MW of new generation capacity on the regional grid between 2017 and 2022.
In Zimbabwe, Government has embarked on the Kariba South expansion project that is expected to come on line by end of this year. An additional 300 MW are expected to be added to the national grid from the project. It is also rehabilitating Hwange Power Station and other small thermal power station in the country to boost generation capacity.