Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) surpassed its first quarter power supply target of 1 885,30GWh by 18,55 percent on account of improved generation from its power stations.
In a power generation update for the first quarter, ZPC said increase in power output was mainly attributed to improved reliability and plant optimisation at Hwange, as well as increased generation at Kariba hydro power station to cater for high system demand.
However, although the generation exceeded targeted output, it remained inadequate to meet demand in the economy as the country’s total available capacity falls far short of national demand.
The country’s, whose demand peaks at 2 200 megawatts can only generate a maximum of about 1 400MW, due to aged equipment at some of its plants and limited investments into generation for nearly 30 years.
“Hwange generated from four units for the bulk of the quarter while all eight units at Kariba were available for peak generation on most days.
“The small thermal power stations missed their target, which was pegged at 47,50GWh by 45,17 percent due to lack of coal stocks and low plant availability which resulted in the stations shutting for a total of 142 days during the quarter,” ZPC said.
During the quarter under review, Kariba Power Station contributed 70 percent of the total energy output during the period under review, four percent of which was exported to NamPower.
Hwange Power Station contributed 29 percent of the total electricity produced while the small thermal stations accounted for only one percent of the total energy production.
“Kariba Power Station contributed more than planned as it was ramped to meet high system demand and compensate for low generation at the small thermal stations,” said ZPC.
The power utility said the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) allocated 22,5 billion cubic metres of water for power generation at Kariba for 2022, which translates to 5,312GWh and average output of 606MW.
“As at the end of the first quarter, the station consumed 6,5 billion cubic metres of water against a target of 5,1 billion cubic metres.
“This leaves the station with 16 billion cubic metre of water for generation for the rest of the year,” said ZPC.
ZPC noted that lake level increased from 478,39m at the beginning of the quarter to 478,81m at the end of March 2022, which represents a 0,42m rise over the quarter.
The power company said although Hwange 7 and 8 expansion project has faced delays predominantly caused by the Covid–19 pandemic, the project was proceeding smoothly and on course for commissioning of Unit 7 at the end of November this year, while unit 8 is expected to feed into the grid by April 2023.
The project is currently at 83 percent complete. ZPC noted that the construction of a second pipeline and upgrade of the existing Deka pump station commenced on October 1, 2021, scheduled for completion in March 2023.
The scope of the project includes the construction of a new 42km, 960mm diameter pipeline from Deka high lift pump station to Hwange Power Station, complete with independent cathodic protection, supply of spare pumps and motors, supply of spares for Deka low lift and high lift pump stations, new SCADA and field instruments, refurbishment of ZINWA water treatment plant in Hwange, and provision of three tap off points for supply of raw water to the Deka community.
“The US$48 million project is being implemented in parallel to the Hwange Unit 7 and 8 Expansion project, and is expected to solve the perennial water supply problem at Hwange Power Station, the country’s largest coal-fired power plant.”
ZPC said plans to repower Bulawayo Power Station were on course and ZPC and the city council had started negotiations on ownership issues.
The matter has been escalated to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for assistance.
On the Relocation Action Programme (RAP), ZPC said it has made admirable headway with overall progress of all construction sites on 89 percent and two out of nine construction sites have been completed to date.
“In February, ZPC handed over 12 new houses at Epping Forest and Sawmills. The RAP project has not only improved the standards of living in the community, but has created employment for over 400 individuals in Matabeleland North province.”