Zim adds 300MW to national grid

HARARE - Kariba South Power Station Extension project is finally complete with government expecting an additional 300 Megawatts (MW) to go online this weekend, a government official said.

Energy ministry permanent secretary Patson Mbiriri said work on the project  — which was supposed to have been finished in December 2017 — was now complete.

“On the 10th of March, we are going to add 300MW to the national grid. This is a rare fit in the region,” he confirmed to the national broadcaster, pointing out that the project is presently going through a week-long trial phase.

The power station saw two additional hydroelectric power generation units being established on the Zimbabwean side with each contributing 150MW, increasing the station’s total output to 1 050MW.

This has resulted in power generation capacity at the Kariba Hydro Power Station increase to 1 050MW.

Last year, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) announced plans to start producing more electricity on the back of improved water levels at Kariba Dam.

This comes after the country endured power cuts almost daily in 2015 due to a devastating drought that saw water levels declining by more than 42 percent.

The electricity situation has however, stabilised with the country hardly experiencing power cuts, save for random fault cuts.

Construction of two new generating units at the country’s biggest power plant to add the 300MW will come as a relief to Zimbabwe which mostly imports its power requirement using scarce foreign exchange.

Before completion of the plant, Kariba only produced 520MW out of its capacity of 750MW.

Peak power demand in Zimbabwe has fallen over the last decade to 1 600MW from 2 200MW.

Zimbabwe’s economy contracted by nearly half during a 1999-2008 recession, causing a decline in manufacturing and commercial agriculture production, sectors that are among the largest consumers of electricity.

According to ZPC officials, Hwange Power Station’s Unit 6 is currently undergoing a major overhaul exercise which is expected to return to service in August this year.

Unit 3 major overhaul at Hwange was expedited in the last quarter of 2017 and annual maintenance was also conducted at all stations as per statutory requirement.

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