Hwange expansion on course: ZPC

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Harare (New Ziana) – The expansion of Hwange power station by an additional two units is progressing well, with significant milestones including the hoisting of generator transformers achieved during the first quarter of 2021, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has said.

The country’s largest coal fired station is being expanded by an additional 600 megawatts.

In an operations update for the first quarter of 2021, the ZPC said construction of the new power plant was on course.

“Significant milestones in the quarter included arrival and hoisting of Unit 7 and 8 generator transformers, tower erection as well as steam turbine installation,” it said.

“Hwange 7 and 8 power station expansion project which is expected to add 600MW to the national grid, registered progress of 58.29 percent at the beginning of the quarter and closed at 62.54 percent against a planned progress of 85.9 percent. The project was affected by IPC outstanding payments as well as effects of Covid-19.”

The ZPC said construction of a 42 kilometre water pipeline to increase water fed to the Hwange power station, was also taking shape.

An Indian consortium was awarded the tender to undertake the project which also includes upgrading the Deka pumping station.

“Project commencement is expected in the second quarter of the year upon fulfilment of conditions precedent. The deal will solve the perennial water supply problem at Hwange Power Station, the country’s largest coal-fired power plant, which currently requires about 3 500m³ of raw water per hour for power generation. This may increase to about 6 000m³/hr when the two expansion units are in operation,” the ZPC said.

Meanwhile, the ZPC said it failed to meet its power output for the first quarter of the year.

“Apart from the effects of COVID-19 the first quarter of 2021 was a challenging period for the organization as generation was depressed at Hwange Power Station. As a result, ZPC sent out 1745.70GWh against a target of 1813.02GWh, representing a negative variance of 3.71 percent. The output was however 34.92 percent above the output for the same period in 2020.

“Hwange Power Station operated with an average of two units during the quarter against a target of five units and sent out 411.42GWh of energy missing its quarterly target by 55.78 percent. Unit 3 continued to be unavailable throughout the period under review as it was on an extended major overhaul. Reliability of units 1, 4 and 5 was also affected owing to overdue planned outages and the fire incident which occurred on February 10, 2021 and caused extensive damage to units 1 and 2. The situation was worsened by the unavailability of Unit 6 towards the end of January due to leaking hydrogen coolers.”

To compensate for the low generation at Hwange and other smaller thermal power stations, the ZPC had to ramp up generation at Kariba Power Station, which performed well due to improved water inflows into Lake Kariba.

The Small Thermals sent out a combined 50.69GWh of energy, missing the quarterly target which was set at 76.98GWh.

“This was a great improvement from Q1 2020 where the stations sent out a total of 11.67GWh. Generation was constrained mainly due to coal stock outs at Munyati and low boiler plant availability at Bulawayo Power Station,” the ZPC said.
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