Construction of the US$14,5 million mini-hydro power plant at Lake Mutirikwi Dam in Masvingo by Great Zimbabwe Hydro Power Company is now in the home stretch with the 5-megawatt station set for commissioning at the end of April this year.
Initially, the clean energy project, one of the many flagship ventures that have pivoted Masvingo towards self-sustainability in clean energy, was billed for commissioning in November last year before rescheduling.
Demand for irrigation water in the cane plantations in the Lowveld forced ZINWA to release water downstream of Lake Mutirikwi in the process causing delays in construction works that were taking place. The heavy rains late last month and early this month delayed work.
Great Zimbabwe Power Company projects coordinator Mr Hubert Chipfumbu yesterday confirmed the new timelines for commissioning the project saying everything was now in place for completion at the end of April with construction 75 percent complete.
“In the next fortnight, we will start the installation of electro-mechanical equipment such as turbines and alternators in the powerhouse and I am also happy that work on the penstock is proceeding according to plan.”
The penstock will channel water from the dam to the powerhouse where it will move turbines to generate electricity. Construction of a 24km powerline from the power station to Kyle sub-station was ongoing adding that everything was set for completion of the long-awaited project on the new set dates.
Construction works at the project started in March 2022 and the venture has aroused excitement within surrounding communities in Murinye and Chikwanda communal lands where the bulk of more than 150 unskilled workers were drawn from.
Lake Mutirikwi, which is Zimbabwe’s second largest interior dam after Tugwi-Mukosi, bisects Chikwanda and Murinye communal lands in the Masvingo district, and communities in the two jurisdictions have welcomed the roll-out of the power project mainly for creating employment.
Great Zim Hydro Power Company is developing the 5MW power project working closely with a foreign partner, Frontier Energy of Denmark, and also local investors principally Old Mutual Life Assurance Company.
The mini-station is one of several planned for the larger irrigation dams, able to use the release of irrigation water to drive the turbines and raise the power required to run the pumps and other irrigation equipment.
The Government has announced plans to have a second 5MW plant further downstream taking the power output along Mutirikwi River to 10MW.
Feasibility studies for a bigger hydropower plant at Tugwi-Mukosi in southern Chivi that will generate 17MW have also been completed.
Source – The Herald