Power utility ZESA Holdings this week successfully synchronised Hwange Power Station’s Unit 7 with generation capacity of 300 megawatts (MW) with the national grid but captains of industry say it will not meaningfully resolve the power crisis ravaging the economy.
According to power generation statistics, ZESA ‘s five power stations in Kariba, Hwange, Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare yesterday collectively produced 361MW against a national demand of 1 800MW, with Hwange Power Station generating a paltry 161MW from a possible 1 220MW. Kariba South Hydroelectric Power Plant, which has a capacity to generate 1 050MW generated 200MW yesterday.
Power stations in Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare were not generating anything.
To cover for the shortfall, ZESA is load shedding consumers as well as importing from regional power utilities. The regional power utilities can only supply Zimbabwe when they have surplus.
Speaking to Business Times yesterday, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Kurai Matsheza said the additional power generated will be a step in the right direction although it will not end Zimbabwe’s power woes.
“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,” Matsheza said.
Mike Kamungeremu, the president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, said addition power, although “in terms of its contribution to the demand, is something”.
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.”
Following the synchronisation of Hwange’s Unit 7, the power utility now expects to link Unit 8 with the national grid by June this year.
Unit 8 is also expected to feed the national grid with an additional 300MW.
After feeding the grid with a paltry 41MW this week, it is now hoped the unit will feed the grid with 150MW at the end of this week and gradually to reach 300MW by June this year.
Chinese contractor, Sino Hydro expanded Hwange Power Station at a cost of about.US$1.4bn, which was funded by the government of China.