THE country is edging closer towards electricity self-sufficiency after the country’s power utility, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), completed Kariba South extension project Unit 7 and refurbished Hwange power station’s Unit 6, Energy and Power Development Minister Simon Khaya Moyo has said.
Currently, the utility is generating around 1301MW and wants to roughly add 300MW by year end, thereby eliminating imports which gobbled around US$300 million in 2017.
The country, which used to import up to 450MW, is now importing an average of 200MW monthly after Kariba South hydro power station completed one of its two 150MW units and Hwange Thermal Power Station’s power generation increased to 661MW following the completion of one of its units, which had not been active for many years.
Average daily national consumption is 1 400MW in summer and 1 600MW in winter.
Minister Khaya Moyo told The Sunday Mail Business that by March, Zimbabwe will be closer to power sufficiency as Kariba South’s Unit 8 will be complete.
“We are not yet there as far as power self-sufficiency is concerned but we are making strong strides towards power self-reliance. We need around 1600MW daily but we are producing a net of around 1300 thanks to our Hwange and Kariba South new power units which added over 200MW.
“By the end of March we will be almost there as Kariba South is going to finish off another unit which will add another 150MW to the national grid.
“There were lucrative power investors in Davos, where the President attended the World Economic Forum, we hope that (other) power stations at Munyati and Bulawayo will be resuscitated,” said Minister Khaya Moyo.
He said: “As we speak, we no longer have load shedding but have power cuts which are caused by faults. “We promise to attend to them as quickly as possible to ensure that people have electricity in their homes.”
The country has secured credit lines for upgrades and new power stations. These are from China, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, India’s Export-Import Bank, the European Union and the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust.
Minister Khaya Moyo said the country will not limit itself to 1600MW but will increase its power generation to over 4000MW after the implementation of various power projects. The country targets to export electricity in the next three to five years and self-sufficiency appears to be within reach.
“Through local content policy, more goods will be produced locally so we need more electricity for our manufacturing industry. We won’t export without providing enough for our people,” said the minister.
“As we speak we have intensified rural electrification projects to ensure our majority rural populace have electricity. In the bible, God said ‘let there be light’, who are we to challenge God’s wisdom?”
The projected national power output is expected to go beyond 4 000MW given that most Independent Power Producers (IPPs) licensed recently will also be running at full throttle. The IPPs recently said they need $10 billion to construct 13 new power plants.