ENERGY company, Zimbabwe Zhongxin Electric Company (ZZEC), is set to commission its 50-megawatt thermal power plant in Hwange in October, the country’s first coal fired plant owned by a private firm, a Cabinet minister has said.
The company was waiting for equipment to evacuate power from the plant to the grid, Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda told our sister paper Business Weekly in an interview.
He also said a 5MW solar plant at Cross Mabele in the Matabeleland North Province will be commissioned in the next two weeks while Harava Solar was targeting to start feeding 6 MW of electricity onto the national grid before end of the year.
“We did a site visit at ZZEC recently and they assured us by September, the plant will be up and running,” said Minister Soda. It will open in two phases, starting with 25MW.”
The power generated from the plant will be fed into the national grid, the minister added. The new plant will boost power supplies and narrow the gap between demand and supply.
Zimbabwe is currently producing an average 1400 MW from its main production plants—Kariba hydroelectric and Hwange thermal station. However, Hwange has of late been unreliable due to frequent breakdowns as the equipment is now too old.
There is, however, a plan to renovate the old plant while two additional new units are being built under the US$1,4 billion deal between Chinese Sino Hydro and Zesa. The new units, now about 70 percent complete will add 600 MW onto the national grid.
When the extension is complete, Hwange thermal will have four 120 MW units from the first phase, two 220 MW units from the second stage and the two 300 MW units from the new third phase to give a total capacity of 1520 MW.
During the first half of 2021, a total of 5,055.37 GWh (inclusive of imports) was supplied against a target of 4,519.7 GWh, giving a positive variance of 12 percent. Local production surpassed the target by 4 percent and supplied 4,007.12GWh against a target of 3,854.69GWh. Local electricity production was mainly driven by Kariba, which surpassed target by about 69 percent to 2,781.85GWh, while Hwange remained constrained and missed the target as unit 3 and 6 continued to be unavailable.