Power utility ZESA has submitted a bid to build a 1 500 megawatt (MW) hydropower plant in Mozambique, as the country looks to boost power generation, Business Times can report.
The latest development was revealed by Howard Choga, the acting managing director of Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a transmission distribution unit of ZESA, on Thursday on the sidelines of the CEO Africa Roundtable annual conference, currently underway in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
Choga said the hydrology was better in Mozambique than in Zimbabwe.
“We are still in the bidding process. The history of the matter is that the President of Mozambique (Filipe Nyusi) invited the President of Zimbabwe (Emmerson Mnangagwa) to invest in a power project there. So, what we are saying is that Zimbabwe has responded positively to the invite to develop a power station there,” Choga told Business Times.
He added: “What it entails is the development, financing and construction of the hydro power station in Mozambique. So, when you win as a bidder, you are supposed to come with the money and build a power station there.
I know the money issue may be a big question but obviously one would need to deal with international financial markets for you to get the money to build the power station.
“We are looking at producing 1 500 MW. The reason is that the hydrology is better in Mozambique than it would be in Zimbabwe. The water is more downstream the (Zambezi River) than it is at the beginning. We know we are struggling with the hydrology at Kariba Dam now and if we are to put in Batoka project its in the upstream. So, there will be questions on the sustainability of hydrology into the future.”
Zimbabwe is battling a worsening power crisis due to low local production.
ZESA is generating about 1 000MW against a national demand of 1 850MW daily.
To cover for the shortfall, State-owned power utility, ZESA, imports from South Africa’s power utility Eskom, Hydro Cahora Bassa of Mozambique, and from Zambia.
However, Zimbabwe is not getting adequate imports as ZESA entered into non-firm contracts with the regional power utilities, meaning they can only supply electricity if they have surplus.
The situation has been worsened by the fact that most of the regional power utilities in the region are also suffering from electricity insufficiency, making it difficult for them to supply Zimbabwe.
Consequently, ZESA is implementing crippling power cuts during peak hours, where production is expected to be at its highest, threatening the economic prospects.
Load shedding has forced most businesses to resort to using backup diesel generators, which are expensive to run.
Clube de Moçambique