THE Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has commissioned overhead travelling cranes in the powerhouse of the new 300 megawatt (MW) Kariba South Expansion facility which is taking shape 130 metres in the belly of the Kariba South bank, businessdigest has learnt.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
The expansion of Kariba South Power Station is expected to add 300MW into the national grid. The US$533 million expansion project, which includes development costs to be met by ZPC, is being undertaken by a Chinese firm, Sino Hydro. The project is earmarked for completion by 2018.
According to information availed to businessdigest this week by the ZPC, the cranes were commissioned on May 1 this year and will have a combined operation capacity of 500 tonnes, making it the biggest crane ever to be installed in the country. The heaviest component to be installed during this project is a 490-tonne generator rotor.
Construction progress stands 45% towards completion and the ZPC believes that the commissioning of the two overhead travelling cranes is a significant milestone towards achieving its target of bringing the first 150MW generating unit on the national grid by December 24 2017.
The remaining unit, according to ZPC, is expected to come to life on March 10 2018.
Designed by JME, a Chinese company sub-contracted by Sino Hydro, the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor, the 21,7-metre span overhead travelling cranes have a lifting height of 28m, and will serve as the special lifting equipment during installation of the new generating units. The cranes will remain in place after commissioning of units seven and eight and will be used for future maintenance and rehabilitation work.
Manufacturing of the crane began at JME’s factory in China last year. In September last year, ZPC and its project technical consultants, Hatch, conducted factory acceptance tests on the cranes and after a month of attending to issues of quality, the manufacturer shipped the crane components to the country. The final components arrived in Kariba on February 29 2016, ZPC said.
Meanwhile, more manufacturing works on the generator and turbine components are taking place in China and are expected in the country at the end of this year.
The power company said it is also currently working towards financial closure for the Hwange 7 and 8 expansion projects.
Last year ZPC managing director, Noah Gwariro, said the power generation company had completed the drilling and blasting of four access tunnels. He said drilling and blasting was in progress to create the underground powerhouse and the head race tunnels, which would direct water from the lake to the turbines.