via ZETDC close to 106MW power supply contracts | The Herald November 25, 2015
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company has made progress towards concluding power supply agreements with regional utilities anticipated to feed at least 106 megawatts into the national grid between December and early next year.
Power utility, Zesa Holdings transmission and distribution unit, ZETDC has engaged South Africa’s ESKOM, Mozambique’s Hydro Cahorra Bassa and independent producer, Lusengwa of Zambia.
ZETDC managing director Engineer Julian Chinembiri confirmed in an interview yesterday that the negotiations are ongoing with a number of regional utilities for supply contracts.
“HCB officials are coming to Zimbabwe in the first week of December. We are seeking an additional 50 megawatts from them. With ESKOM, we are looking at next week (to hear what they say), they have their own problems so they have to consult the board and their local energy regulator,” Eng Chinembiri said.
He said they would accept any reasonable amount of power supply ESKOM can spare considering South Africa is also battling shortages.
The ZETDC managing director said Zambia’s Lusengwa had indicated willingness and possibility of supplying 56MW while HCB of Mozambique might agree to double current supply to 100MW.
Zimbabwe is facing debilitating power shortages with average requirement of 2 200MW at peak periods of demand for electricity against current constrained power generation capacity of about 900MW.
Equipment at one of the country’s major generation plants, Hwange Thermal Power Station, has outlived its useful life and is therefore frequently breaking down, reducing available generation capacity.
The outdated power plant has installed capacity for 920MW, but is currently able to produce an average of between 470MW and 570MW.
The country’s other major and dependable power station, Kariba South, which is a 750MW capacity plant has been forced to lower its optimum output level to a maximum 475MW due to receding water levels in Kariba Dam, which supplies the water for power generation.
Government, through Zimbabwe Power Company, is working hard to increase the country’s generation capacity through the 300MW capacity expansion of Kariba South and 600MW extension of Hwange. Sino-Hydro was awarded the two extension contracts.
Further, about 20 licences have been issued to independent power producers, as part of national efforts to ramp up power production and ameliorate the prevailing deficit and stem out deficits.
These include tenders awarded to private investors for construction of solar power stations, small hydro plants and generation of electricity using coal bed methane in Matabeleland North.
In terms of Government’s medium term economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, Zimbabwe will generate power excess to its requirements by 2018, which will be exported to other countries facing deficits in the region.