Zesa to add 120MW to grid

Source: Zesa to add 120MW to grid | The Sunday Mail June 16, 2019

Zesa to add 120MW to grid

Lincoln Towindo
Senior Reporter

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority plans to expeditiously refurbish Hwange Power Station’s  Unit 3 to augment local power generation by 120MW, while negotiations with regional suppliers for additional power continue.

Only three of HPS’s six units — producing between 268MW-500 MW — are functional.

Zesa recently announced that it had started stage 2 load-shedding, which entails 15-hour power cuts.

Mr Fullard Gwasira, the power utility’s spokesperson, told The Sunday Mail that depressed output at HPS is due to “technical challenges” that have forced three units to be taken out.

“Current levels of generation at Hwange Power Station stand at between 268 MW- 500 MW on three units.

“This depressed generation at Hwange is as a result of three other units having been taken out due to various technical challenges such as boiler tube leaks, among others.

“The depressed generation state has been precipitated by the failure of generator Number 6, leading to 160MW being taken off the national grid.

“160MW is almost enough to feed an entire city such as Mutare,” said Mr Gwasira.

“Currently, there are plans to refurbish Unit 3 at Hwange Power Station for about US$35 million.

“This was the first unit to be refurbished by the US$40 million Nampower loan and came on stream in February 2010, and should have been refurbished after five years,” he said.

Output at Kariba Hydropower Station has also plummeted to 355MW from a potential 1 050MW due to reduced water levels in the Zambezi River, especially after El Nino-induced low rains in the river’s catchment area. Neighbouring Zambia has been equally affected.

Its power utility Zesco similarly began load-shedding at the beginning of the month.

There are fears the Zambezi River Authority – which manages water resources on the Zambezi River on behalf of Zimbabwe and Zambia – will further review water allocations downwards.

ZRA public relations and communications manager Elizabeth Karonga said a review of water allocation is due by end of this month.

She said: “The Zambezi River Authority revised the water allocation downwards on 1st April 2019, from 36BCM (billion cubic meters) to 34BCM, to be shared equally between Zesco and ZPC, to be used for the period 1st April 2019 to 31st December 2019, spelling out a combined generation level of 750MW at Kariba during that period (with the Zesco Ltd operated North Bank Power Station to generate at 392MW, while the Zimbabwe Power Company-operated South Bank Power Station to generate at 358MW) , and the Authority continues to monitor the situation and carry out quarterly hydrological reviews to inform reservoir operations at Kariba.

“The next review will be done at the end of June 2019, being the end of the second quarter of 2019.”

However, Mozambique’s Hydro Electrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) has already offered power to Zimbabwe and Zambia in exchange for further reduced power generation at the Kariba Dam hydro plants.

Cahora Bassa Dam is overflowing following the recent cyclone-induced floods, and authorities in Mozambique have asked Zimbabwe and Zambia — through the ZRA — to cut down generation and store more water in Kariba Dam, which is upstream of Cahora Bassa on the Zambezi River.

Zesa said last week it is currently importing a combined 100MW from HCB and Eskom of South Africa.

The country is also negotiating a payment plan for its US$80 million debt with regional utilities in order to unlock additional power supplies.