Rumbidzayi Zinyuke |  3 months ago | business
Ongoing thermal and renewable power projects are expected to add 150 megawatts (MW) to the national grid by the end of the year, ensuring adequate power supply in the country.
Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda yesterday said about 11 power projects would come on board this year.
These included the joint venture coal-fired power station being built in Hwange by Chinese investors and their Zimbabwean partners under Zimbabwe Zhongxin Electrical Energy Limited (ZZEE).
It is expected to begin feeding 25MW into the national grid by September while the remaining 25MW would be ceded in October.
The company was given a license to be one of the many independent power producers in 2019.
“The other ten renewable power projects include new projects and existing ones that will be feeding more into the grid. We had some projects that were phased and these will add more electricity to the grid as per their plan. The expectation is that all these will feed 100MW into the grid,” he said.
Minister Soda said the country was currently importing between 50MW and 350MW depending on generation capacity but the imports were currently not consistent owing to generation constraints at regional utilities Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa of Mozambique and Eskom of South Africa.
“Eskom indicated they would not be able to export power outside firm contracts during winter as they also face huge demand so we only get 50MW from there.
“While the imports have gone down, we are still able to supply power to the nation. The current load shedding being experienced is because we are facing electricity shortages as a result to low-level generation capability at Hwange Units 1 to 6,” said Minister Soda.
“Government is currently refurbishing Hwange thermal power station Unit 6 and when that is done, we will have more power added to the grid from that plant,” he said.
The plant is currently generating 450MW, almost half of its installed capacity of 900MW.
In April, Minister Zhemu Soda said electricity demand was forecast at about 1 400MW against the internal generation of 1 200MW, hence the country expected a deficit of 200MW.
He said the new projects and the completion of Unit 6 would ensure enough power supply.