The Sunday News
Sharon Chimemya, Masvingo Correspondent
CONSTRUCTION of a five megawatt Great Zimbabwe Hydropower project at Mutirikwi Dam in Masvingo is set to be completed in July next year.
The power project, which is in three phases with the first phase being the construction of a 0,8 km access road already at 50 percent, will bring relief to people of Masvingo as it will be feeding the Kyle substation.
Speaking on the sidelines of the tour of the construction works last week, Great Zimbabwe Hydropower project manager Engineer Osteen Chiboora said they started work on the power plant on 9 March and will be ready by end of July next year.
“We are working on the access road of 0,8km to the powerhouse before we embark on other works. The progress of the road is around 50 percent and we are expecting that by the end of August works on the road will have been completed. All the other works and our transmission line, which is about 20km from this site to the Kyle substation, will commence soon. Our project will have two 2,5 megawatt Francis turbines which have the capacity of producing five megawatts,” he said.
Eng Chiboora said 170 people are employed by the local contractor JR Goddard of which 10 percent are from the surrounding communities as part of empowering locals.
“We have 170 people and about 10 percent are locals because the terrain which we are currently working on requires more skilled people but we are expecting to employ more as we have more phases. We are expecting that the project will be operational by 31 July 2023.”
Masvingo Province is set to generate close to 25 megawatts from a combination of Mutirikwi, Tugwi Mukosi and Manjirenji dams.
The Government, according to National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) is set to improve access to modern energy through expanding and reinforcing the transmission grid to ensure system stability and security of supplies.
Access to electricity for both rural and urban areas is envisaged to increase from 44 percent in 2020 to 54 percent by 2025.
Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Cde Ezra Chadzamira said the project will first benefit the people of Masvingo before power can be exported to other provinces.
“According to devolution policy, every project that is taking place in an area should first benefit the local people and so this five megawatt station will first benefit Masvingo. Masvingo as a whole requires around 22 megawatts.
“The coming in on board of the Mutirikwi hydro power project together with the Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, which will produce around 17 megawatts, and the Manjirenji Dam which will produce around three megawatts will see Masvingo getting around 25 megawatts which is more than what we require as a province,” he said.