Zimbabwe utility reports small hydro deal with Russian firm

Zimbabwe’s electric utility said it entered an agreement with a Russian company to develop small hydropower projects in the power-short African nation.

Zimbabwe media quoted Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) saying it plans to build small hydro plants primarily in remote areas not served by the transmission system or in areas where the plants can reduce transmission losses.

Zimbabwe has faced frequent power cuts due to foreign currency shortages, making it difficult to import equipment to refurbish its 920-MW Hwange coal-fired power plant. ZESA said it obtained funding from a regional power firm to finance the Russian small hydro deal.

Although ZESA did not disclose its Russian partner, last year it said it was nearing completion of an agreement with Russia’s Turbo Engineering to build 17 small hydropower projects totaling 123 MW. (HNN 11/29/06)

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