HomeBusiness DigestGovt mulls decommissioning Hwange Thermal

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INCESSANT breakdowns at the country’s Hwange Thermal power stations have forced government to consider decommissioning the troubled power station, Industry minister Welshman Ncube said.

Ncube, who held a breakfast meeting on Wednesday in the capital to interface with business executives, said government has been trying to ascertain the problems rocking the power station for a year but without success owing to bungling by Zesa holdings.
He said that a team of cabinet ministers’ taskforce had been ordered to come up with a report on the state of the equipment at Hwange. The team will then make recommendations on its findings.
He says the investigation into the state of affairs will determine whether or not to decommission the plant.
He said: “Regrettably, over the last 12 months, the problems have always been communicated to us differently. The government has now had to say let us get a full report on all the six units … then we can say do we really need to spend more money on them (units) or decommission them.”
He told delegates that only two out of six generation units at Hwange, which has installed capacity of 750 MW, are operational. But the two units are producing a mere 50 MW due to recurrent breakdowns. Zimbabwe is facing crippling power shortages. Industry leaders raised concerns over the power problems.
Industrialist, David Govere, said: “How do we industrialise the economy when we produced only 1000 MW. Gauteng (Province in South Africa) produces over 100 000 MW.”
The Chamber of Mines had earlier raised similar worries in the same meeting.
Ncube added that government had continued giving financial support to the state-owned power utility but never got the desired results.
He poked fun at Zesa saying the company always has a ready excuse all the time.
“They (Zesa) once blamed the coal situation. And then the coal supplies became more than enough. Then they said the problem was no longer coal anymore,” he said.
Ncube added: “As of the end of last week, it (Hwange) was delivering 50 MW, which basically means that it’s not in play at the moment,” Ncube said.
According to Ncube, little can be done to lift output at all the units beyond 40% of installed capacity. — Staff Writer.

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