The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Soda Zhemu, announced that Hwange Unit 8 is now ready for synchronisation. He also commended the improvements in power supply resulting from the full operation of Hwange Unit 7.
He made the statement while speaking to journalists at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo on Friday. The synchronisation of Unit 7 last month has been credited with reducing power cuts in some parts of the country. Domestic power generation capacity has risen to over 1 000MW total output, up from the lowest point of about 300MW in February of this year. Minister Zhemu told journalists:
Hwange Unit 7 has been under construction for quite some time but it was synchronised onto the national grid on 20 March and is still undergoing commissioning tests at various performance levels. I am pleased to announce that on 16 May we will witness the synchronisation of Unit 8 and getting connected to the national grid. In June we will have Unit 7 being available commercially. What it means is that we shall have a constant supply of 300 megawatts.
The 600MW Hwange expansion project, costing US$1.5 billion through a Chinese loan deal, was facilitated by the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa, he added.
Minister Zhemu also announced that the Kariba Power Station which was in danger of shutting down last year due to low water levels is now producing an average of 500 megawatts. Last year, negotiations with Zambia allowed the power station to generate an average of 250 megawatts. The minister stated that they intend to increase the generation further to meet the demands for winter wheat production activities.
Despite efforts to stabilise Zimbabwe’s power situation, it remains fragile due to vandalism, which forces the power utility to redirect funds from other projects to replace damaged equipment. Minister Zhemu has stated that measures are being taken to address this issue, such as using drones for surveillance and introducing legislation to deter such activities. – (Pindula)