New energy transmission for Bulawayo
The Zimbabwean government has started work on a 36 kilometer power transmission line in Bulawayo between the Hwange thermal power plant and the Insukamini substation in Bulawayo. The project is part of the ongoing $ 1 billion Hwange Units 7 and 8 expansion project, which is now 76% complete and will contribute 600 MW to the national grid by 2022. Hwange Power, which is consists of 5x120MW and 2x220MW units, has a total installed capacity of 92OMW, making it the largest coal-fired power plant in the country.
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In August 2018, the Zimbabwe Electricity Company (ZPC) began work on the expansion of the Hwange power plant, culminating with the addition of a third stage at the plant, with the construction of two 300 MW units. According to ZPC, the expansion project would increase Hwange’s generation capacity from 92OMW to 1,520MW, solving the country’s recurring blackouts. Currently, the country generates around 3OOMW, with the Kariba hydropower plant alone providing around 900 MW, with the gap being filled by imports from regional sources. Given the scale of the project, building sufficient transport infrastructure capacity is crucial to improve the energy efficiency of the economy. In this context, the energy experts stressed the need to carry out the expansion and transport infrastructure projects at the same time to ensure a good impact on the market. It comes amid fears that the utility company will lose 20% of its electricity due to inadequate transmission infrastructure.
The current progress of the power line
Dr Gloria Magombo, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Electricity Development, said in an interview on Friday that the increase in the power transmission line in Bulawayo was continued with the same urgency as the program. expansion of units 7 and 8. According to Dr Magombo, the project is currently 76% complete. The first 300 MW unit (Unit 7) is expected to be commissioned in October 2022, followed by Unit 8 (300 MW) in January 2023. Exim Bank of China funds the project, and payments are paid based on verified progress. To date, a total of US $ 360 million has been disbursed. The construction of a 360 kilometer power line from Hwange to Insukamini substation in Bulawayo is part of the transmission perimeter. The construction of the line includes civil works for the foundations of the pylons, the installation of the pylons and the ropes of the overhead conductors.
According to the energy secretary, the civil works have already been completed and 67 of the 87 towers have been placed. She also said the conductor’s rope, which began in September 2021, completed 190 km of the 360 ââkm last week (December 10, 2021). Rope for the entire line is expected to be completed by mid-April 2022. Zimbabwe is undertaking several new power projects in the solar, hydropower and renewable sectors to increase production to over 5,000 MW and export excess electricity to the region.
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