23 January 2013 – The Financial Gazette’ in Zimbabwe reports that the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) requires US$300 million to refurbish the country’s three small thermal power stations, part of which will be funded by the Indian government.

ZPC managing director, Noah Gwariro, told the publication in an interview, “We are looking for about US$300 million to refurbish the three power plants and we will be securing 280 MW."

He says the Indian government would fund the rehabilitation at Bulawayo power station while the local private sector would participate in the upgrading of the Harare power station.Harare Power station is currently shut down due to low coal stocks.

"We have put Bulawayo power station in the pipeline for funding by the Indian government. Our ministry (of energy and power development) has supported this initiative. For Harare power station, we are going to tender very soon to get an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor that can provide part of the funding and do the technical work of rehabilitating the plant. We look forward for the participation by the local private sector in this project,"

He indicates that the Munyati power station would be leased by Essar Holdings, which acquired the Kwekwe-based Zimbabwe Iron and Steel company from government in 2010.

Gwariro says the refurbishment exercise would take about two years to complete, adding that Harare power station would be the first to be rehabilitated. “That will make sure we have more power from the small thermals and the extension of their lives to another 20 years.

"Harare Power station will be the first one as we have already approached the state procurement board (SPB) to authorise the tender and I think in the first quarter of 2013, there should be tendering for the Harare power plant," Gwariro says. "For Bulawayo, we intend to refurbish 90MW while at Munyati we are looking at producing 100MW. For Harare, we are looking at 120MW.The estimated cost of refurbishment is US$1million per megawatt.”

Zimbabwe requires 2,200MW of electricity at peak periods but currently generates plus or minus 1,000MW.

The winning bidder for the country’s largest coal-fired power station’s, Hwange’s, expansion is expected to be announced soon.The SPB has narrowed down the number of bidders vying to expand Hwange power station by an additional 600 MW to two. These two remaining bidders are Sino Hydro Corporation and China National Machinery Corporation.