Zimbabwe: Kariba South Project nears completion

02 October 2017

Kariba South extension project is going to start feeding 150 MW into the national grid before the end of the year. Commissioning of the project is going to happen in the second week of December. Construction work on the whole project is 92% complete.

Kariba South extension project

Kariba South is undergoing expansion of its generating capacity through addition of two more generating units in an effort to increase local power output to close the deficit.

Zesa Holdings awarded an engineering procurement and construction contract to Chinese company Sino Hydro to oversee the project. The extension took place at an EPC cost of US $355 million. However the total cost to completion is likely to reach US $533 million. This includes development costs such as consultancy, statutory payments and equity input.

Since completing the 920MW Hwange thermal power plant, Zimbabwe has not invested in major power projects. The Hwange power plant now experiences frequent break downs and produces below its capacity. An additional 300MW will ensure consistent supply of power to substitute similar amount of power being imported from Eskom. However this will cost Zimbabwe between US $7 million to US $10 million weekly.

Zesa Holdings has struggled to meet its obligations consequently Harare owes about US $100 million in total from electricity imports. The country is now facing foreign currency crisis due to rising demand for foreign currency, mainly for essential raw materials for local manufacture, little foreign direct investment and closed foreign lines of credit.

The deficit in electricity has serious repercussions on the recovery of the productive sectors of the economy such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing.

On the other hand electricity imports from the regional countries has enabled Zimbabwe to avoid previous rolling power cuts through rationing. 

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