Power gen­er­a­tion fur­ther declines

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

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

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