HARARE, May 26 — Newly-licensed independent power producer (IPP) Co-Ash Resources has started work on its 1,000-megawatt (MW) power plant in Hwange in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland South Province by embarking on an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study.

The company, which was licensed late last year, intends to generate power using waste coal from the Hwange area using the plasma-fired gasification technology, which involves conversion of organic matter into electricity.

The technology is also a globally accepted form of waste management which is already being used in developed countries such as Britain and France to generate electricity.

In a notice for an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), the company said it wanted to utilize waste coal fines which pose an environmental hazard in the Hwange area.

“Co-Ash Resources (Pvt) Ltd intends to establish a 250 MW IGCC thermal power plant in the Hwange area, expanding to 1.0 gigawatt (1000 MW) over the next ten years,” it added.

“The main objective of the project is to construct a combined cycle, environmentally friendly, highly efficient advanced plasma fired thermal power plant that will supply (a) significant amount of power to the nation of Zimbabwe.”

The company said as part of the EIA, a public consultation process was also being carried out.

Zimbabwe has been experiencing a power deficit, and this has been identified as one of the top priority areas for the government in its bid to resuscitate the economy.

The government, through the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), has embarked on several projects to bridge the energy deficit such as expanding existing power stations and building new ones. For example, the ZPC is embarking on the 533 million US dollars Kariba South power station expansion project, to be undertaken over the next three years.

The project, which will be undertaken by Chinese firm, Sino Hydro, will expand the country’s second largest power station by an additional two units to add a combined 300 MW to the national grid.

Plans are also in place to add two units at Hwange Thermal Power Station which would have a combined generation capacity of 600 MW.

Zimbabwe is also working with the Zambian government to build the Batoka Gorge power station on the Zambezi River which is expected to generate 1,600 MW of electricity to be shared equally by the two countries when completed.

In addition to government efforts, several IPPs have been licensed with projects at different stages of