Tongaat Hulett commissions Chiredzi gas plant
Tongaat Hulett, Zimbabwe’s largest sugar producer, has commissioned a 40-tonne liquefied petroleum gas plant in Chiredzi that will provide renewable and clean energy to more than 5 000 workers of the country’s single largest employer. Tongaat, which owns Triangle and Hippo Valley Estates employs close to 18 000 workers.
Under the project, Tongaat will provide gas, stoves and cylinders to the workers. Kensys Gas, which installed the plant has procured nearly 5 000 two plate gas stoves for the workers. This will reduce demand for electricity and use of wood for heating.
Kensys, the leading LPG company with plants in Bluffhill and Graniteside in Harare was contracted by Tongaat to build the plant as well as procure stoves and cylinders for workers. At this scale, the project is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe.
“This is a reflection that Zimbabwean companies can make a change,” Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority chief executive Eng Gloria Magombo said during the commissioning of the plant recently.
“The plant is state of the art and meets global standards.”
Kensys has also installed 12 filling points in the townships to ensure easy access of gas and plans 28 additional ones later.
Over the past few years, Zimbabwe has experienced a significant rise in consumption of liquefied petroleum gas as households opt for cleaner alternative energy.
Eng Magombo said LPG gas usage had risen from 6 million tonnes a year to about 35 million kg in the past five years. Households are increasingly using gas for cooking as an alternative to electricity and wood.
The uptake of LPG has been on the increase due to consumers’ awareness 0f the need to use cleaner energy. Consumers have also realised the benefits of using LPG as an alternative source of energy as part of managing their electricity bills. LPG is a cleaner form of energy mainly for heating and cooking compared to wood fuel.
The use of LPG contributes to a reduction in use of wood fuel and lessens pressure on the national electricity grid. ZERA has been rolling out awareness campaigns on the safe use of LPG at both retail and household level and this has also helped to increase the uptake of gas.
Tongaat enterprise development executive Thomas Dheka said the company felt it was time to shift towards more and efficient energy for its workers.
“For us, it is a small step and greater things are coming,” said Mr Dheka. It is a milestone achievement and we believe this is the way to go.
“This project is going to have fundamental impact on the lives of the people of Chiredzi. The next phase of the project would be lighting and work has already started. He said the project was implemented on time and met the prescribed specifications. The beneficiaries would initially have an allocation of 6kg of gas a month.
Environmental Management Agency officer, Mr Charles Mughodhi said the project would go a long way in reducing deforestation and carbon emissions. Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Paris climate change accord of 2015 which largely seeks to hold the increase of the global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius by reducing carbon emissions.
“As we celebrate this milestone achievement, we appeal that you educate people on how to handle the gas appliances,” he said.
He said the projects would slow deforestation and will reduce the destruction of the ozone layer. Kensys director Ronald Ndoro said the project was one of the major to be implemented by the company since it started operations a few years ago.
“We are fairly new in the market but we are making a huge impact and this project bear testimony to what I am talking about. We are confident that the project will make a difference to the workers of Triangle in particular and Chiredzi in general,” he said.