Zimbabwe Starts $1.5 Billion Hwange Power-Plant Expansion

(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe has started the $1.5 billion expansion of its Hwange power plant, which should take 42 months to complete, the technical director overseeing the project said.

“The additional 600 megawatts which we will generate here obviously means we will move towards self-sufficiency,” Zimbabwe Power Co.’s Joshua Chirikutsi said in an interview Wednesday in Hwange, about 600 kilometers (375 miles) west of the capital, Harare.

Zimbabwe’s power utility is meeting about half of the country’s 2,200-megawatt electricity requirement. It relies on imports because existing units at Hwange have fallen into disrepair. Upon completion, the two new units will add 600 megawatts to the existing 920-megawatt plant, the country’s biggest.

The facility needs 240,000 metric tons of coal a month but suppliers haven’t been meeting the order value because the utility doesn’t consistently meet payments. The situation is set to improve, with Zimbabwe Power Co. due to get support from the nation’s central bank to make foreign-exchange payments, Chirikutsi said.

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