HomeBusiness DigestNamPower, Zesa to meet over Hwange Station

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NAMIBIA’S power utility company, NamPower, will next week send a delegation to Zimbabwe for discussions with the Energy ministry and Zesa officials, amid a proposal that Hwange Thermal Power Station should be decommissioned.

The decommissioning of the troubled power station could affect the supply of power to Namibia.
NamPower pumped US$40 million three years ago into the refurbishment of the plant but frequent breakdowns are threatening its continued use.
Last week, Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube said cabinet ministers would compile a report on the state of equipment at Hwange and make recommendations on whether to decommission or not.
“Officials at NamPower have requested meetings with their counterparts –– Zesa and the Energy ministry to get first hand update. The meetings have been tentatively set for Tuesday and Wednesday next week,” a senior Zesa official told businessdigest this week.
The scheduled meetings, according to sources, arose after NamPower learnt through media reports of plans to decommission the power plant. 
According to the agreement entered into by the two power utilities, it was agreed that in return of the US$40 million, Zesa would deliver 150 megawatts of power to NamPower for five years. This is part of the power purchase agreement (PPA).
In January, Energy and Power Development minister Elias Mudzuri caused an uproar saying that Zesa would in future only be allowed to export power to NamPower if it was generated at Hwange.
He later backtracked saying that Zesa would honour its deal with NamPower despite the power utility struggling to meet domestic demand.
In response, Nampower said it was “satisfied” with the terms and conditions covering events of default.
Ncube said last week Zesa was misrepresenting the 750-megawatt plant’s problems to government.
He said that at one time they blamed coal shortages but now said the equipment at the power plant was too old to operate at full capacity.
“Regrettably, over the last 12 months, the problems have always been communicated to us differently,” he said.
All the six units at Hwange can only operate at 40% of their designed capacity, Ncube said, giving a maximum output of 300 megawatt.
Government needs close to US$1 billion to rectify problems affecting the power station, while a further US$3 billion would be required to construct new power stations.
Zimbabwe is currently facing a power deficit of 1 500 MW daily due to the faults at Hwange while the country’s three other thermal power stations at Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare are not producing any electricity at all. The country needs 2 200 MW daily.
The country is relying on 750 MW produced at the Kariba Hydro Plant, which is producing at full capacity.
The other sources of electricity are imports from Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa.


Nqobile Bhebhe

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