Hwange Unit 7 Will Not End Zimbabwe's Power Crisis
Captains of industry say the successful synchronisation of Hwange Thermal Power Station’s Unit 7 with a generation capacity of 300 megawatts (MW) with the national grid will not meaningfully end the current electricity challenges bedeviling the economy.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Kurai Matsheza on Wednesday told Business Times that the hope is that the new unit will operate at full capacity consistently. Said Matsheza:
We hope that it will be on the grid on a sustainable basis and hopefully, it will operate at the capacity of 300MW and if that stands a test of time, this will assist industry and other sectors of the economy though it will not eliminate the power challenges completely.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Mike Kamungeremu said the development is welcome. He said:
We hope that Unit 8 will come soon and that will be commendable. We hope that may result in load shedding hours reduced as right now it is not sustainable for businesses to run for hours as the cost is too huge resulting in some firms closing.
All the same, we are happy with the development, though we need more power.
Hwange Unit 7
Unit 7 was successfully synchronised with the national grid and started feeding electricity on Monday, 20 March.
The synchronisation sought to establish if the electricity being generated from Unit 7 would flow into the national grid.
The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) said that power from Unit 7 will be progressively fed into the grid until it reaches 300MW.
ZPC said it expects the second 300MW thermal unit (unit 8) to start generating power in October.
Depressed Power Generation
According to power generation statistics, ZESA ‘s five power stations in Kariba, Hwange, Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare on Wednesday collectively produced 361MW against a national demand of 1 800MW.
Hwange Thermal Power Station has the capacity to generate 1 220MW, while Kariba South Hydroelectric Power Plant has the capacity to generate 1 050MW.
On Friday, 24 March, Hwange was generating 530MW, Kariba, 350MW, and Munyati, 18MW to give a total of 898MW. Harare and Bulawayo were not generating anything.
ZESA Loadshedding, Debts
To cover for the shortfall, ZESA is load-shedding consumers as well as importing from South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia.
A recent report claimed that Zambia’s power utility ZESCO Limited was set to disconnect supply to Zimbabwe on 14 March over non-payment of US$10.7 million debt for the month of February and March.
ZETDC commercial service director Gift Ndhlovu was recently quoted as saying the overall debt to regional suppliers has increased to over US$100.
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