The Sunday News
Power utility, Zesa, is undertaking a US$3,6 million refurbishment of Hwange Thermal Power Station Unit 6 expected to be complete in December.
Completion of the works will pave way for the Zimbabwe Power Company to embark on another US$28 million major project to extend the lifespan of Unit 3. The refurbishment exercises comes at a time when Hwange Power Station is on course to expand the power plant through constructing Units 7 and 8 with an additional capacity of 600 megawatts.
Hwange Power Station has an installation capacity of 920 megawatts, but has been producing about 500 megawatts owing to aged equipment. A team of engineers are said to be working on Unit 6 as part of efforts to increase power generation in the country. Zimbabwe is facing electricity shortages due to low level generation capacity at major stations such as Kariba, Harare and Bulawayo.
The Kariba power plant has been affected by low water levels while the stations in the two metropolitan provinces have not been getting adequate coal supplies.
In a bid to improve future electricity supply, Government has been licensing independent power producers with a bias towards solar projects. Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister, Magna Mudyiwa, said the works at Hwange would improve electricity supply.
“Units 1 to 5 are currently in production and Unit 6 is under rotor repairs by the original equipment manufacturer. It is expected to be completed by December 2019. We are also preparing for a major overhaul of Unit 3 from December 2019 which is expected to last for four months.
“The current project of revamping Unit 6 is estimated to cost Euro 3,3million (US$3,6 million), while the major overhaul of Unit 3 will cost US$28 million. There are two approaches on Hwange; the first is to bring back Unit 6 and the second is to carry out Unit 3 major overhaul.”
Zimbabwe has been relying on power imports to complement its electricity generation capacity. The country is producing averages of 1 000 megawatts against a demand of about 1 500 megawatts.