US$5.7 million 1.6-MW Kupinga small hydro plant begins generation in Zimbabwe

The 1.6-MW Kupinga small hydropower station, located in on the Rusitu River in Chipinge, Manicaland province of eastern Zimbabwe has begun generating energy.

According to the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority, in 2014 it issued a 25-year operating license for the project originally begun in the 1970s. Reports from local media yesterday said the project is grid connected and currently producing about 1.4 MW.

The Kupinga plant is expected to reach full capacity by the end of this year.

Zimbabwe-based integrated financial group, Old Mutual, says it is funding about US$5.7 million for the project by joint venture company, Kupinga Renewable Energy Private Ltd., “a formation between Old Mutual and various individuals.”

Chipinge Rural District Council Chairperson, Phenious Muzamana, said, “Apart from feeding into the national grid, the establishment of the plant has created employment for people in the area.”

Zimbabwe is also continuing work on other small hydro projects initiated, but not completed.

In March, the government signed a $7 million deal with contractor Salini Impregilo to complete civil works on the 15-MW Tokwe-Mukosi hydropower plant that began being constructed in 2007. The facility is located on the Tokwe River, just downstream of its confluence with the Mukorsi River, about 45 miles south of Masvingo in Masvingo province.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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