Hwange Unit 8 is ready!… Load shedding to further ease, Minister Zhemu says

THE country’s power generation capacity continues to improve with Government announcing that the synchronisation of Hwange Unit 8 is slated for 16 May, a development that is expected to ease load shedding and set the wheels of industry rolling seamlessly.

Following the successful synchronisation of Unit 7 last month, Zesa Holdings recently announced a reduction in load shedding in response to the rising domestic power generation capacity, which has seen the country surpassing 1 000MW total output from the lowest of about 300MW in February this year.

Addressing journalists at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo on Friday, Minister of Energy and Power Development Cde Soda Zhemu announced that Unit 8 was ready and affirmed the improvements in power supply brought about by the coming into full throttle of Hwange Unit 7.

“Hwange Unit 7 has been under construction for quite some time but it was synchronised onto the national grid on 20 March and is still undergoing commissioning tests at various performance levels. I am pleased to announce that on 16 May we will witness the syncronisation of Unit 8 and getting connected onto the national grid. In June we will have Unit 7 being available commercially. What it means is that we shall have a constant supply of 300 megawatts,” he said.

Minister Zhemu also spoke on the positive developments at Kariba Power Station which almost shut down last year due to low water levels, but has seen significant increase in power generation of up to an average of 500 megawatts.

“Over and above that you might be aware that last year we experienced some problems with generations from Kariba, where initially it was supposed to be a total shut down of the Kariba Power Station, but after negotiations with our counterparts in Zambia, the power utility was allowed to generate an average of 250 megawatts.

“As of last week, there has been some technical committee communications where there has been a review of generation from Kariba which has increased the generation to an average of 500 megawatts. However, we intend to increase that in line with the demands for winter wheat production activities,” he said.

While significant strides are being made towards improving power generation internally, vandalism continue to cause a headache with the power utility channeling funds budgeted for other projects towards replacement of lost equipment. Minister Zhemu said measures have been put in place to put a stop to various vandalism activities affecting power supply.

“Vandalism is becoming a scourge where Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) are from time to time putting aside funds to replace transformers and infrastructure that would have been destroyed by vandals. I am happy that there is a lot that they are doing to address that challenge.

“They have introduced drones that are traversing their networks, doing some surveillance and also some that can be launched whenever there are reports of the network being tempered with. They can launch these and immediately some information is obtained which can lead to arrests and prosecution,” he said.

He said Government was also looking at putting in place legislation which can assist in that space by way of coming up with deterrent punishments whenever someone is found destroying electricity equipment. The Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa facilitated the implementation of the 600MW Hwange expansion project at a cost of US$1.5 billion through a Chinese loan deal.–The Sunday News

Leave a Reply