ZPC awaits tender process to start work on Bulawayo Power Station
By Staff reporter | 06 Jun 2019 at 13:49hrs
THE Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) is awaiting the conclusion of the tender process to kick start the upgrading and repowering of the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station, the station's power plant manager, Engineer Tom Chuma has said.
ZPC received $87 million from the India Export and Import Bank for the Bulawayo Power Station repowering project.
The ZPC/India-Exim Bank deal was clinched in 2015 and the financial institution recently extended an additional $23 million line of credit for the rehabilitation of the station.
Addressing members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development at the power station yesterday, Eng Chuma said one of the key developments for the repowering project was the construction of a pipeline from Khami Dam which will bring water for the station's boilers.
The committee is touring power stations in the country to assess their operations and their challenges.
"The repowering project is at the tender stage and we're waiting for submissions. So it's really work in progress. "When the tender process is concluded, work on the pipeline will start. When we expand our capacity to 90MW, we need more water hence this pipeline to draw water from Khami Dam.
"We've also signed an agreement with the Bulawayo City Council for the provision of water and this will commence when the overall project of repowering commences," said Eng Chuma.
He said the power station was facing operational challenges which were making it difficult to operate at full capacity.
"We have only one available 30MW turbine and three serviceable boilers, while the other two are awaiting critical spares so that we have five boilers in total.
"Our generation levels are therefore being suppressed "The installed capacity for the power station is 90MW and currently we're producing about 25MW.
"We get potable water from the Bulawayo City Council and it's expensive compared to raw water.
"We negotiated for allocation and we are getting 5 000 cubic litres, which is adequate for the available capacity," said Eng Chuma.
In an interview after touring the Bulawayo Power Station, chairperson of the committee, who is also Binga South legislator, Gabuza Joel Gabuza, called for political will to upgrade the power stations, saying they were in a sorry state.
"Clearly for Bulawayo we have no plant to talk about, by world standards and even our own standards. It's fortunate that we have capable engineers who are able to patch up things otherwise there's no plant to talk about.
"The machines here are ancient and are no longer reliable. They're also not serviceable because the spares are no longer available in the country and there's no foreign currency to import them.
"Political will is therefore required to make sure that projects launched by parastatals are urgently implemented," said MP Gabuza.
He said from the power stations that they had toured so far, Kariba Hydro Power Station was the only one that was up to scratch because there has been upgrading at the station but Munyati, Bulawayo and Hwange had obsolete equipment. He said the purpose of the tour was to see the capacity and understand the problems that the power stations are facing.
"The country is facing serious power shortages and we are supposed to report to Parliament and the nation what exactly is happening on the ground hence this tour.
The committee is expected to tour Hwange Power Station today.