Lake Mutirikwi, the country’s second-largest interior dam is set to start generating electricity next year as Great Zimbabwe Hydro Power Company has started building a 5-megawatt mini-hydropower plant at the reservoir.
The dam only plays second fiddle to the giant Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in terms of size and generating power will be a game-changing move in the Masvingo economic development matrix.
A company contracted by Great Zim Hydro, R.Goddard Construction is already on the project site at Lake Mutirikwi building access roads as the initial chapter of a three-phased project.
Upon completion, the power generated at Lake Mutirikwi will be fed into the national grid helping to cut the electricity import bill.
Project kick-off had been delayed as Great Zim Hydro worked round the clock for the venture to reach financial closure.
Now Great Zimbabwe Hydro Company Projects Coordinator Executive Mr Hubert Chipfumbu says it’s all systems go.
According to Mr Chipfumbu the project would be due for completion in June next year at a cost of $US14,2 million.
“We expect to finish the project in June 2023. We have secured funding for the project from both external and internal partners and work has indeed commenced with access roads being worked on now,” said Mr Chipfumbu.
“After the ongoing initial phase that covers access roads, we will then move to main civil works that involve the building of a powerhouse and a penstock that will convey water to the powerhouse for turbines to move and generate power.”
He said the last phase will entail building a power evacuation like stretching 25km to the nearest Zesa sub-station.
“The 33 kV transmission line will be 25km long.”
The contractor building access roads has created employment for over 100 skilled and unskilled workers with some of them drawn from surrounding communities.
If the planned Tugwi-Mukosi hydropower plant project is undertaken in future, the combined power output from Zimbabwe’s two biggest inland dams will be 20 MW.
This will be a step in the right direction for the country as it makes baby steps towards the use of eco-friendly energy sources envisaged under a green economy.