2 May 2012 – The Zimbabwean reports that the Nyangani Renewable Energy group, which has set up mini hydro power plants in the Honde Valley of Zimbabwe to supply power to rural communities has seen this project enter its second phase. This phase will see it produce 2.75 MW in addition to the 1.1 MW initially generated.
Nyangani Renewable Energy managing director, Ian McKersie, says the US$6 million project is expected to light the whole of Honde Valley and will be completed by August this year.
“A third phase will see the export of power to whole of Manicaland province and is expected to cost US$50 million.” He says the projects did not store water but take advantage of steep slopes, good rainfalls and gradient which allows water to flow with pressure.
“The project is 100% community driven. As a company we have a deliberate policy to employ local people.” McKersie says that although the project has scored some successes in reducing environmental degradation and problems of power it had a fair share of its challenges.
“Our challenge is to sell the electricity to the end-user at economic rates that are also viable. The terrain here makes it difficult to lay some pipes especially during the rainy season. So we need expensive equipment that is suitable for the terrain.” He says the group is working closely with stakeholders such as Ministry of Power and Energy Development, Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Authority and rural district councils to make sure that the project becomes a success.