Hwange power station, the biggest coal-fired power facility in Zimbabwe, is being expanded by adding 600MW installed capacity.
The $1.5bn expansion project is being undertaken by a special-purpose vehicle (SPV) comprising Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a subsidiary of Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), and Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction company Sinohydro.
Located at Hwange in the Matabeleland North Province of western Zimbabwe, the Hwange power station has been operational since 1983. The plant’s installed capacity was increased to 920MW in 1987.
Scheduled for completion in 2022, the on-going expansion project will further increase the plant’s capacity to 1,520MW.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the Hwange power station expansion was held in June 2018, while the main construction works were started in March 2019.
Hwange power station expansion details
The Hwange power station, which already has six coal-fired generating units, is being expanded with two additional coal-fired units of 300MW capacity each.
The main equipment for the seventh and eighth units of the plant are being provided by China’s state-owned electricity equipment manufacturer Dongfang Electric Corporation.
The power station is expected to generate more than 60% of Zimbabwe’s electricity needs following the expansion.
Hwange power station make-up
The Hwange power station comprises six existing coal-fired units including four 120MW units commissioned between 1983 and 1986 and two 220MW units commissioned in 1987.
Construction of the coal-fired power station was started in 1973. Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) was the owner and operator of the 920MW power station until it transferred the operatorship of the plant to ZPC in January 2001.
The plant was operated as a base load station with an average power availability of 80% and a plant load factor of 65%. It currently generates enough power to fulfil 40% of the country’s electricity needs.
Hwange Colliery Company (HCCL) delivers coal to the power station via a 6km-long overland conveyor belt as well as by trucks from the Makamo and Coalbrick mines.
A 44km-long pipeline from the Zambezi River pumps water into two 150,000m³ water reservoirs at the plant site for meeting the project’s water requirements.
China EXIM Bank agreed to provide a loan of $1.2bn for the Hwange power station expansion in December 2015.
The Government of India also promised to provide a line of credit (LoC) of $310m in November 2017 for enhancing the lifecycle of the Hwange thermal power plant.
Standard Bank South Africa and Afreximbank are supporting the expansion project by providing $40m and $76m, respectively.
Chinese state-owned Power Construction Corporation of China (POWERCHINA) was awarded the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the Hwange power station expansion in October 2014.
POWERCHINA subcontracted Dongfang Electric Corporation for the supply of main equipment for the expansion project, in November 2017.
Hatch Africa was engaged as the lead consulting engineer for the Hwange power station expansion, in July 2011.