With the delivery of a 175 MVA transformer, a ZimFund-funded emergency power infrastructure rehabilitation project has completed its final phase of implementation, providing thousands of customers in Zimbabwe’s Midlands, Mashonaland East, and Mashonaland West provinces with relief from frequent power outages.
On Sunday, July 10, the transformer was transported to the Sherwood Substation in the Kwekwe Midlands Province, which is located around 200 kilometers (km) west of Harare. The ZimFund Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project (EPIRP II), in which the African Development Bank Group is a significant partner, received funding in the amount of $22.74 million for Phase II.
Over 1.2 million people are served by the Sherwood substation, which has customers in the provinces of Mashonaland East and West, Masvingo, and the Midlands. The substation currently has three 90MVA, 330/88/11kV transformers installed, giving it a total installed capacity of 270MVA compared to the 350MVA substation demand.
The new transformer will take the place of the damaged machinery that frequently cut the power, negatively affecting homes, businesses, institutions that support human capital, and the provision of fundamental services.
WSP Power Managing Director, Dinesh Buldoo representing the government of Zimbabwe stated that the delivery of the transformer was “a key milestone since it is the largest key equipment included in the project scope”.
“The project faced delays exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic impact, especially on the production and shipping lines. We would like to thank Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company’s (ZETDC) and the people of Zimbabwe for their patience throughout this project,” he said.
The African Development Bank-managed EPIRP Phase II was designed to improve the availability of electricity supply through the rehabilitation of generation, transmission, and distribution facilities. The project’s target areas were Kwekwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Mutare, Harare, and Hwange, with a combined target population of 5 million people.
Commenting on the delivery of the transformer, ZETDC Network Development Engineer Edson Manyewe, said it would result “in improved reliability of supplies, efficient operation of the network as well as improved quality of supplies.”
ZimFund has been one of the most instrumental programmes in the country in terms of restoring Zimbabwe’s critical infrastructure for power, water supply, and sanitation, especially in the targeted areas. By the end of the first phase of the power project I in 2016, more than 529,768 people in residential areas had their sewage reticulation serviced by reliable power, 11,632 others were restored to the electricity network and 11,097 people were added to the network.
The $145.8 million fund’s donors include Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. Most of the substations rehabilitated under ZimFund power project, supply power to critical institutions such as hospitals, schools and universities, water and sewage treatment plants, mines, and other public facilities that cater to a population of over 5 million people, spread across the country’s provinces.
Under its energy sector, the African Development Bank is also financing other infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe such as the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation, Alaska-Karoi Transmission Line, and Energy Sector Reform Support projects with a total investment of USD 90.5 million.