Hwange thermal power project nears completion

By Josephine Mugiyo, Diplomatic Correspondent

AS government works towards ensuring sufficient power supply for the country, great strides have been made with a visit to the Hwange thermal power station revealing the massive work being done in the expansion drive where the new power units are expected to feed into the national grid by November this year.

In 2018 President Emmerson Mnangagwa officiated at the ground breaking ceremony of the key project paving way for expansion of Hwange Unit 7 and 8.

Work was interrupted at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic but has since resumed at full pace.

A tour of the US$one billion project brings one face to face with the immense work that has been put in as workers rigorously go about their tasks to power the nation.

Engineer Lucia Chibanda who stood in on behalf of the project manager , said the thermal power project roped  in locals from the most basic of tasks to the more complicated ones as they work with the contractor Sino hydro.

“This is a very big project which has seen 4 600 people being employed and we actually worked with the local chiefs as the majority of the employees came from here. We are now at 91% in terms of completion. By November Unit 7 will now be feeding 300 megawatts into the national grid and then in the next three months after that Unit 8 will also now be complete. Kadoma is powered by 40 megawatts so this project will power 15 Kadoma’s,” she said.

Due to the huge nature of the scope of work being done, the project has turned out to be a multi-national assignment with expertise being drawn from across the country’s borders while locals are also playing their part.

The breed of young engineers working at the site is as refreshing as it is exciting with commissioning manager Engineer Justice Makunike saying the aim is to build a plant which will run seamlessly.

This is the last phase of the project and we need to ensure we come up with a project that will run seamlessly. The average age of our team of young engineers have capabilities that will make them ably to carry out such tasks in future,” said Engineer Takashinga Takaendesa.

Once the nation augments its power supply the ripple effects will cascade to industry given that the power provision is key across all sectors.

These national projects being undertaken by the Second Republic are opening up employment opportunities, this particular project has brought 3 000 locals on board.