HWANGE power station is expected to be operating at full capacity by the last quarter of the year after the country’s power utility dealt with issues constraining growth in power generation, Zesa Holdings says.
In an interview with businessdigest on Wednesday, Zesa Holdings spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said they are repairing six generators that should be operational by the end of October.
Gwasira said: “We have put in place all the necessary mechanisms to ensure that there is increased production at Hwange by the end of October, this means all six units will be working.”
Zimbabwe received US$40 million from Namibia in 2007 to refurbish and expand Hwange power station in a bid to boost power output and reduce power-cuts in the country.
Under the same deal, signed between the two countries when President Robert Mugabe visited Namibia in March 2007, Zimbabwe agreed to export 180 MW for a minimum of five years.
Incessant breakdowns at Hwange have forced Zimbabwe to continue exporting the little energy the two power plants generate.
When the agreement was signed, Zesa hoped the four units at the station would be fully repaired by August 2008. Although Hwange has an installed capacity of over 750 MW, the plant is operating below 10% capacity. Only two units have been operational.
Gwasira said the NamPower deal, to last until 2011, was the “only decision government had” in the wake of an economic crisis charecterised by high inflation and foreign exchange shortages. Zesa blames its low output on coal shortages and old equipment. In February, Finance minister Tendai Biti allocated US$10 million to Zesa to “kick-start” repairs at Hwange.
“It is a small cake (US$10 million) but will go a long way to speed repairs. If all consumers could pay their bills, repairs will be faster and load shedding reduced,” Gwasira told businessdigest.
Zimbabwe relies on Kariba’s hydropower plant that is producing an average of 740 MW daily. In addition, it imports about 160 MW from neighbouring Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. –– Staff Writer.