The country has been going through increased load shedding since the beginning of September 2013. This is coming after the country has experienced a relatively good power supply during witer. This has been achieved by
• The restoration of all six generating units at Hwange as a result of the rehabilitation program that the Government has been funding since 2010.
• The increased access to imports following clearing of power import arrears with Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique.
• Demand side management efforts by ZETDC in which 1.1 million compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs or energy savers) were installed on households thereby saving about 63MW.
• The support from the Southern African Power Pool to assist the country as it held the harmonized elections and the co-hosted UNWTO.
While all the six units at Hwange have since been restored; there are still some works that are needed to be undertaken to increase the output and reliability of the power plant. In addition, all power generation machines need periodic planned maintenance to ensure safe and sustainable operation. This maintenance is normally carried out after the winter peak period with the aim of finishing the maintenance before the following winter period.
• Causes of Current Power Shortages
• Planned Outages for Statutory and Rehabilitation Works
At the beginning of September 2013, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) began to take out generating units to implement planned statutory maintenance at Hwange and Kariba power stations. ZPC will also carry out plant upgrade and rehabilitation works during these planned outages.
ZPC has scheduled to carry out the planned outages with durations varying from 3 weeks to 16 weeks on 8 units during the off peak season maintenance window. This means that some unit outages have to overlap.
• Plant Breakdowns
The aged power infrastructure continues to hinder continuous power supply. The failure, in the early hours of this morning, of Warren 330kV bulk power supply station resulted in
• Loss of supply to half of Harare affecting part of the Central Business District, Western and Northern suburbs.
• Tripping of Harare power station that was generating 45MW.
• This was a once off incident and supplies have since been restored.
• Limited Imports in Region
2. CURRENT POWER SUPPLY STATUS
SOURCE CAPACITY (MW) REMARK
Hwange Power Station 470 4 units in service
Kariba Power Station 500 4 units in service
Small Thermal Power Stations 47 Bulawayo and Munyati
Total Internal Generation 1017
Imports 200 HCB only
Contractual Exports -50 Reduced from 150MW
Forecast Maximum Demand 1730 MD 2200MW during winter peak
3. CHALLENGES IN THE POWER SECTOR
• Inadequate Internal Generation Capacity; even when we dispatch all our assets the power will not be adequate.
• We are working on rehabilitation and upgrading of our aged and obsolete network infrastructure. This will reduce the frequent breakdowns.
• Limited import availability as the whole region is short of power.
• Lack of Energy Efficiency culture and limited use of alternative energy in view of capacity shortfalls (Demand Side Management)
• Theft and vandalism of power infrastructure;
4. STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE ELECTRICITY SUPPLY
• ZPC should complete its maintenance and rehabilitation programme as scheduled.
• ZETDC will continue to engage regional utilities for additional imports and renew all PPAs timely.
• Demand Side Management efforts are to continue, ZETDC is resuscitating the ripple control system in Harare and Bulawayo. This will see a saving of 42MW during peak periods in the first quarter of 2014.
• ZEDTC will accelerate the installation of prepayment meters as these have assisted consumers in managing their energy consumption responsibly in addition to improving cash flow for the utilities.
• In the face of the current shortages, priority for power supply will focus on the agricultural sector to support winter wheat crop and the tobacco crop. This is in addition to the essential services that are exempted from load shedding i.e.;
Ã¯Æ’Ëœ Major referral hospitals,
Ã¯Æ’Ëœ Major water and sewer installations’
Ã¯Æ’Ëœ National security establishments,
Ã¯Æ’Ëœ Major airports and broadcasting stations,
Ã¯Æ’Ëœ Major Central business districts
Ã¯Æ’Ëœ Major border posts.
5. LONG TERM POWER SUPPLY STRATEGIES
The long term solution to power supply in Zimbabwe lies in the expansion of our generation capacity. The Electricity Act has liberalized the power sector, allowing participation of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in power generation. The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has duly licensed a significant number of IPP projects. The Government shall give these projects all the necessary support.
Hwange (600MW) and Kariba (300MW) Extension
Meanwhile, ZPC is implementing generation expansion projects at Hwange and Kariba power stations. The two projects will see an increase in generation capacity by 900MW in the next four years.
The application for financing of the Kariba power station extension project, by China Exim Bank, is at the final stages of approval and financial closure will be achieved during this quarter.
The Contract for the expansion of Hwange power station was awarded to China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) of China. ZPC and CMEC are currently holding negotiations.
Batoka Hydro (1600MW)
This project is being implemented by the Zambian and Zimbabwean Governments through the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA). ZRA is in the process of appointing Consultants for updating the feasibility studies for the project.
• Gairezi Small Hydro (30MW) and other mini hydros.
• Chisumbanje expansion to 18MW
• Solar Power Projects (100MW)
• China Sunlight Africa Thermal power plant (600MW), IPP.
• Regional Power Project
6. APPEAL TO CUSTOMERS TO CONSERVE ELECTRICITY
Given the current situation I call upon all electricity consumers to play their part in reducing electricity demand by using the limited power available conservatively.
• All non-essential load should be switched off at all times
• Non-essential lights and office equipment should be switched off overnight.
• Organisations that can shift their activities to off peak periods should do so.
• Use gas for cooking.
• Use solar for water heating.
• Customers should honour their bills in order to ensure security of supply.
• We expect the current situation to continue to improve. The breakdowns at Hwange and the transmission have been resolved. The load is expected to improve steadily and reach acceptable levels by the end of October 2013.
• The current power supply shortage is not as a result of failure to pay for power imports. ZETDC is in good standing with the utilities from which the country imports power.
• The debt relief that ZESA offered to customers was done after careful consideration in which the financial viability of the power sector was ensured. It was important to give relief to important customer categories, domestic customers and agriculture sector without compromising the viability of the power utilities. This is why the debt relief was only partial.
D. C. MAVHAIRE (SENATOR)
MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENTPost published in: News