Harare (New Ziana) – In another key milestone for the Second Republic’s infrastructure development agenda, the first of the two units being built at the Hwange power station was successfully turned on for the first time on Tuesday, bringing the country closer to producing an additional 300 Megawatts.
The additional power, expected to be fed into the national grid before the end of the year, will go a long way in easing power shortages and will also be a welcome boost to the country’s modernisation and industrialisation agenda.
When complete, the two units, Hwange 7 and 8 are expected to produce a total of 600 megawatts.
In a brief update, the contractor tweeted; “Hwange Expansion Project successfully completed the rolling of number 7 unit of steam turbine at rated 3000rpm (3000 revolutions per minute) on November 15, 2022 for the first time.”
Rolling means getting the steam turbine to rotate in order to produce electricity.
In an earlier update, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) said the new 300 Megawatts from Hwange would not be immediately fed into the grid.
“The Hwange Expansion Project Unit 7 is expected to be synchronised to the grid by the end of this year,” the ZPC said in its quarterly production update.
Meanwhile, work is also progressing to ensure adequate water supplies to the new units at Hwange with a new water pipeline running from the Zambezi River being built specifically for that purpose.
“The Deka upgradation project is 71.2 percent complete and on track to be completed by March 31, 2023. The pipes have been laid in the order of thickness for the entire 42km. Since then, pipe welding has begun,” the ZPC said.
Zimbabwe currently faces a huge power deficit due to old generating plants and low water volumes at Kariba Dam, where the country’s biggest power plant is situated.
Apart from building new power plants, other initiatives to increase electricity generation in the country are being pursued, including refurbishing the old Hwange thermal plant.
“ZPC secured US$310 million from the Export-Import Bank of India to rehabilitate Hwange Power Station. The rehabilitation of the ageing thermal power plant shall be done in three phases and we are projecting that the work on the refurbishment will begin in the third quarter of 2023,” the ZPC said.
Meanwhile, the ZPC said during the third quarter of the year, it experienced depressed generation at its thermal stations due to numerous forced outages.
A total of 2 258.79GWh were sent out in the 3rd quarter of the year, missing the set target of 2 444.02 GWh by 7.58 percent.
“However, for the period January to September 2022, ZPC managed to send out 6 727.82GWh, surpassing the target set at 6 621.62 GWh by 1.60 percent.
“The small thermals (Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati) produced a total of 41.47GWh of energy, falling 29.09 percent short of the quarterly target of 58.48GWh. This was due to low plant availability and coal stock outs, which resulted in generation loss,” the company said.
“During the quarter, Kariba South Power Station had 7 units available for peak generation, and as such, the station exceeded its quarterly target by 9.17 percent. The hydro power station’s output for the quarter under review was 2.53 percent higher than the output in the same period last year. This was due to an increase in water allocation by Zambezi River Authority from 15 billion cubic meters in 2021 to 22.5 billion cubic meters in 2022.
“Kariba Power Station consumed 20.4Bm3 for power generation as of the end of Q3 2022, compared to a target of 17.4Bm3, leaving the station with 2.1Bm3 of generation capacity for the remainder of the year.”