Has GE and China Power Won the 2.4 GW Batoka Gorge Hydro Project?

  • GE Power and Power Construction Corporation of China will build the US 4 billion, 2.4 GW Batoka Gorge hydro plant, according to Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
  • The project is a JV between Zambia and Zimbabwe implemented under the auspices of the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), a bi-national organisation mandated to operate, monitor and maintain the Kariba Dam Complex as well as exploit the full potential of the Zambezi River.

“Zambia and Zimbabwe have agreed on this project. We have all agreed that we give it to China Power and GE together,” Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa said in an interview Wednesday in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, where he was attending a conference, according to a Bloomberg report . “It’s critical that we move fast on that front because it’s necessary that as we industrialize that we need electricity,” he said.

Mnangagwa’s announcement seems to have caught many stakeholders off-guard as the official announcement of the winner has not been made.

The consortium of General Electric and Power Construction Corporation of China, Salini Impregilo of Italy and a joint venture of Chinese firms Three Gorges Corporation, China International and Water Electric Corporation and China Gezhouba Group Company Ltd are the companies shortlisted for the project.

The project is being implemented under the auspices of the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), a bi-national organisation mandated to operate, monitor and maintain the Kariba Dam Complex as well as exploit the full potential of the Zambezi River.

Engineering feasibility for the 2,400-megawatt (MW) power station will be completed by end of Q1 2019. The project is structured on a Build-Operate-Transfer financial model. As such no sovereign guarantees will be required and the project will not put any fiscal strain on the government of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Both Governments will share the power equally.

The plant location is 2km’s downstream from Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River. Bringing Batoka Gorge on-stream will see Zimbabwe attain electricity self-sufficiency. The country is producing about 1,300 MW against demand of 1,900 MW, with deficits being covered by imports from South Africa and Mozambique.

The project is estimated to take 10 years to be fully complete.

Last month Zimbabwe announced that it will be implementing a load shedding program. The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission & Distribution Company (ZETDC) announced that it has been forced to cut power generation at its Kariba Dam power plant due to low water levels. Read more 

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

 

 

 

 

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