South African hydropower plant developer, owner and operator NuPlanet has been granted a generation licence to build a 5-MW greenfield hydropower plant at the Mutirikwi dam, Zimbabwe’s largest reservoir.
An eight-month technical feasibility and environmental-impact assessment phase for the project would start next year, with procurement, contracting and construction to commence thereafter.
The plant could potentially be commissioned by late 2012.
NuPlanet MD Anton-Louis Olivier said that the company was pleased to have been awarded the generation licence, adding that the project has been on the cards for some time.
“In hydropower projects, one needs to take a long-term investment view and we are comfortable that our decision to invest in Zimbabwe will prove sound and profitable,” he said.
The company partnered with Zimbabwean developer MOL Power to enter the Zimbabwean power market.
NuPlanet is developing a pipeline of about 300 MW of hydropower potential across Southern Africa.
It already has two operating plants, the 3-MW Sol Plaatje and the 4-MW Merino hydropower plants, in South Africa, with construction on a further three projects, with a combined capacity of 11 MW, to start next year.
“We have a strong position and track record in the South African market, which we are capitalising on to develop our regional projects. Without the support of South African consultants and financial institutions, long-term, project finance-based transactions outside of South Africa would not be possible,” stated Olivier.
Source: Engineering News
Dams are potentially very damaging to the environment but where they exist already, environmental impact can be reduced by generating green energy in the form of hydropower. Where dams are built specifically for hydro-electric purposes, the environmental degradation may not be justified. There are many Developing Countries that have vast amounts of untapped hydropower potential but vigilance is required for the prevention of greenwashing hydropower projects.
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