All set for Hwange Unit 8 synchronisation. . . Power outages, price volatility temporary: ED

14 May, 2023 - 00:05 0 Views
All set for Hwange Unit 8 synchronisation. . . Power outages, price volatility temporary: ED

The Sunday News

Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter

THE Hwange Thermal Power Station Unit 8 is set to be synchronised on Tuesday with tests underway to make sure everything is in order for what is expected to be yet another historic electricity boost to the national grid.

This comes as reports indicate that Unit 7 will next month be available commercially, this assuring the nation of a constant supply of 300 megawatts from Hwange. Unit 8 is expected to add another 300 megawatts once fully operational, which will reduce load shedding to minimal levels. The synchronisation comes a few months after Unit 7 was successfully synchronised with the national grid and started feeding electricity. The synchronisation of Unit 8 will seek to establish if the electricity being generated can flow seamlessly into the national grid.

Addressing journalists in Bulawayo recently, Minister of Energy and Power Development Cde Soda Zhemu proclaimed the date of the synchronisation.

Cde Soda Zhemu

“Hwange Unit 7 and 8 has been under construction for quite some time but Unit 7 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 syncronisation of Unit 8 which will be connected onto 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,” he said.

Responding to Sunday News on the progress towards the synchronisation of Unit 8, Zesa Holding acting general manager — stakeholder relations communications and welfare, Mr Abraham Makoni said the company will issue a statement when the syncronisation is done.

“We will issue a statement to the nation when synchronisation is done,” said Mr Makoni.

However, sources close to the project said by yesterday tests were underway to ensure the smooth synchronisation.

“Engineers are on the ground working on various tests to make sure everything is in order for a successful synchronisation of Unit 8 with the national grid. It is the same procedure which was undertaken before the synchronisation of Unit 7 on 20 March 2023. What we are observing is that the synchronisation will go as planned,” said the source.

The source further said engineers were monitoring and testing Unit 7 which was taken off the grid last week to pave way for the final commissioning phase, before the contractor hands over the project to the country.

“Hwange Unit 7 which is still undergoing commissioning tests has successfully completed the reliability run. Engineers took it off the grid on Thursday for evaluation of all systems which was supposed to be 168 hours. I am sure that time has lapsed so engineers will advise when it will be returned to the grid for the final phase of commissioning which is the performance and guarantees test. After these tests, it is expected to be available commercially mid-June,” said the source.

National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1)’

Meanwhile, experts said the synchronisation process has to be thorough to ensure the problems which were witnessed in countries which hurried their synchronisation cannot be replicated in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, in 1984, four engineers were electrocuted at Hwange Power Station when they synchronised a system that was not yet ready.

Built at a cost of about US$1,4 billion by a Chinese contractor, Hwange Unit 7 and 8 expansion is one of the Second Republic’s signature projects aimed at boosting power generation to support economic transformation in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS1).

President Mnangagwa

Writing in his weekly column, in this publication, President Mnangagwa said the Government will continue with efforts towards resolving the power deficit. He assured the nation that it will soon see a greater improvement in the national power supply.

“Besides, it should never be forgotten that the current power shortage largely owes to a fast-recovering and expanding economy, principally led by our energy-intensive mining sector. This is growing demand we must meet with robust energy supply,” he said.

The President said power shortages and price volatility were temporary, as the country worked towards full economic recovery.

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