A consortium of Zimbabwean, Zambian and Chinese businesses have expressed interest to build the estimated US$4 billion Batoka Hydropower Project expected to produce 1 600 megawatts of electricity.
Energy and Power Development secretary Mr Partson Mbiriri said recently that six companies out of 25 had been shortlisted after bidding for the construction of the hydropower station.
The Zambezi River Authority, a statutory body jointly owned by Zimbabwe and Zambia and responsible for the Zambezi River, is overseeing the project. The contract would be awarded on a Built, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.
Information gathered by Herald Business reveals that a local company, Khanyisa Energy and Treasfin Securities of Zambia, has partnered with one of the world’s leading energy companies, China Gezhouba Group Corporation, in the race to construct the Batoka Hydropower Project.
CGGC are renowned for constructing the world’s largest hydropower station, Three Gorges Project, at a cost of more than US$50 billion in China.
Sources close to the development said the consortium known as Batoka Hydro Energy Power Company has joined among other companies, Sino Hydro-China, Carmago Correa-Brazil, China Water and Electricity Company and other Chinese and some European and Middle East firms to land the lucrative deal. The Batoka Gorge hydropower project was conceived by the Zambian and Zimbabwean governments and is expected to boost power generation capacity in the two countries.
The company which wins the contract is expected to build the hydroelectric power plant and run it for a period agreed upon by the Zambian and Zimbabwean governments.
So far the two governments have ordered a fresh environmental impact assessment study before the actual construction begins. The ZRA was now in discussions with the World Bank to see if it could finance the fresh feasibility study.
Against this backdrop, the two countries, which would jointly finance the Batoka hydroelectric project -with additional funding from donors, seek to ensure construction and commissioning of the project is completed by 2017.
The proposed hydroelectric scheme is located on the Zambezi River, about 54km downstream of the Victoria Falls, across the boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The project involves the construction of a dam and a hydropower plant on the Transboundary River. Some studies have shown that the project could cost between US$2,8 billion and US$3 billion.
Once completed, the project will increase generation capacity and reduce reliance on electricity imports. Initial studies have shown that Batoka hydro scheme would turn Zimbabwe into a net exporter of power in the region.
Date: 22 April 2013