Rumbidzai Zinyuke Senior Reporter
One of Hwange Thermal Power Station’s two largest boiler-turbine-generator units went back on the grid on Monday giving Zesa an extra 150MW and Zimbabweans can expect the ongoing load shedding to ease.
Zesa’s distribution arm, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) last week released a countrywide load shedding schedule following limited capacity at Hwange and the need to take two of the eight turbines at Kariba South offline to allow work on the river bed immediately downstream of the dam wall..
But in a new statement, ZETDC was more upbeat saying: “The utility is pleased to advise of an improvement of generation at Hwange Power Station, after the return to service of unit number 5 on Monday, 13th September 2021. The unit has improved the station output by an additional 150MW.”
Zimbabwe’s total maximum power supply currently available is ranging from 1240MW to 1600MW against an average demand forecast of about 1735MW at peak periods. This gives an average power deficit range of 145MW -500MW depending on imports availability and local generation performance.
“The power supply gap is being managed through load shedding in order to avert system collapse. ZETDC is implementing a raft of interventions to mitigate load shedding and keep the lights on. Amongst the many mitigation measures being taken to address this shortfall, the power utility is in discussions with power utilities in Mozambique and Zambia for a possible supply of an extra 280MW beginning of October.”
ZETDC said the winter wheat crop was now maturing and largely in the final stages of grain filling while the early planted crop was in harvesting stage, leaving only the late planted crop being anticipated to be under irrigation in the month of October. This is expected to significantly reduce the irrigation load by about 75MW by the end of October.
An additional 60.5MW from internal thermal and solar Independent power producers are also expected to be added to the national grid by end of December 2021.
“Generator number 1 at Kariba (125MW) which has been on annual maintenance since 13 August 2021, is expected to be back in service on the 24th of September 2021. While generator number 6 at Hwange Power Station which was taken out due to boiler tube leaks is expected to return to service on 23 September 2021. A total of 270MW is therefore expected to be available from the two machines that are currently out of service by the end of the month,” said ZETDC.
“It is imperative to indicate that priority is being given to the productive sector and the power utility is working round the clock to minimize disruptions to its valued customers and ensure security of electricity supplies.
“Customers are being encouraged to use the available power sparingly and engage in demand side management initiatives.”