Power generation further declines
ZIMBABWE’S power generation has further declined to 797 megawatts from an average of about 1 200MW.
The country’s power stations, whose equipment has been facing constant breakdowns due to ageing equipment, have in recent years been producing at below capacity.
A few weeks ago, one of the power stations — Hwange Thermal Power plant — was producing about 280 megawatts against an installed capacity of 920MW due to technical faults.
According to the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), as of Friday last week, Hwange Thermal Power Station was generating 243MW while Kariba Hydropower Station was producing 500MW against an installed capacity of 750MW.
The other three plants, Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati thermal power stations were producing 36MW, 18MW and 0MW respectively.
Due to subdued generation, domestic and industrial consumers have in the past endured long hours of load shedding.
Against this background, the Government has among other initiatives aimed at boosting power supply, embarked on a programme to upgrade the Hwange Thermal Power plant installing additional units, 7 and 8.
The Kariba South Expansion Project is also underway as part of efforts to boost power generation in the country.
In the 2016 national budget, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said China had committed to provide a $1,2 billion loan for the refurbishment of the Hwange thermal power plant.
The upgrading at Hwange is expected to see 600MW being added to the national grid while the expansion programme at Kariba would see an additional 300MW being generated by the power plant.
Following a $60 million lifeline for Kariba South by China Export and Import Bank recently, the expansion project is expected to produce 150MW by December 2017.
However, last month Zesa announced that progress on the funding agreement for Hwange Power Plant has been stalled by about $7,2 million that Zimbabwe owes a Chinese insurance firm.
The insurance company has insisted that it would not guarantee the loan until the country clears its debt.
The Government through the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has since 2010 licensed about 24 Independent Power Producers to invest in power generation and the projects are at different stages of completion.
Zimbabwe is one of the countries in Sadc experiencing a power deficit due to lack of investment in energy projects.
Electricity demand has in recent years continued to outstrip supply due to factors such as increased population growth. — @okazunga
Bulawayo Thermal Power Station