The project, funded by a US$310 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of India, is meant to extend the life of Hwange’s six existing generator units. ZPC said in its latest update on power projects:
The rehabilitation of the ageing thermal power plant shall be done in three phases, and we are projecting that the work on the refurbishment will begin in the third quarter of 2023.
The current Hwange units were built close to 40 years ago, and break down often, causing blackouts.
The project to refurbish them and extend their life will take up to five years, officials said previously. When complete, the units would add up to 880MW.
This will be a separate project to the construction of the two new units, Hwange 7 & 8, which will add a combined 600MW.
ZPC plans to bring unit 7 online this year, while unit 8 will be connected next year. The project has been slowed down by a combination of government payment delays and COVID-19 disruptions.
ZPC will need more water to supply the new 7 & 8 plants, and this is being done by building a 42km pipeline from the Zambezi. This will only be completed in March.
Zimbabwe faces a huge power deficit as it is generating about 870MW, about half of the current demand.
The crisis is attributed to underinvestment and corruption.