Independent Manicaland power producers ramp up output

MUTARE - Manicaland’s biggest independent power producer Nyangani Renewable Energy (Pvt) Ltd hopes to complete the Pungwe run-of-river hydro power station by year-end, increasing electricity output to 20 megawatt (MW), a top official has said.

Executive director Ian McKersie said Manicaland’s biggest independent power producer (IPP) was currently producing 6,05 MW from a $15 million investment at Duru, Nyamhingura and the first phase of the Pungwe project.

The power is benefiting 45 000 people as well as rural businesses and clinics in Zindi, Mapokana and Sagambe villages across Honde Valley.

“We are building the second stage of the Pungwe project and this will be a 15 MW run-of-river power station which, if all the deadlines are met, should be generating by the end of 2014,” McKersie said.

The completion of the project will see Nyangani Renewable Energy embark on another $50m power project which has the capacity to light up the entire eastern Highlands region.

Commencing in 2007 with the construction of a mini hydro power station on Nyamingura River which produced 1,1 megawatts and was commissioned in 2010, there was the Duru mini hydro power station which generates 2,78 megawatts while the Pungwe project should generate up to 15 megawatts when fully operational.

“Typically, these stations cost $2,5 million per MW to build. The investment into the three operating power stations which have a combined installed capacity of 6,05MW is in the region of $15 million.”

Manicaland, which is getting its electricity supplies from Hwange and Kariba power stations and imports from Mozambique via the national grid, requires a total of 130 MW to power the entire province.

McKersie said they planned to proceed with the investment following the support and encouragement given to IPP’s by the Energy ministry and Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).

“The deregulation of the Electricity Act which began in 2002 and resulted in the Electricity Act of 2005 and the recent adoption of the Energy Policy opened up the electricity sector to IPPs, and this in effect was the inspiration to build and operate the first mini hydroelectric power station (Nyamingura),” McKersie said.

Zesa (Holdings) Eastern region general manager engineer Milton Munodawafa said IPPs can assist government mitigate power shortages.

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