The Zimbabwean government has provided assurance that load shedding will be reduced by the end of November with the addition of a unit at Hwange Power Station.
The country has been experiencing a decrease in electricity generation due to hydrological issues and the need for inspection and repairs at Hwange. The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon Edgar Moyo, stated that a roadmap has been adopted by Cabinet to address the energy problem until 2025. The plan includes eliminating imports, increasing solar power, and enhancing the efficiency of power production at Hwange by repowering units one to six.
The current power generation across all stations has been affected by low water levels at Kariba Dam, resulting in a significant decrease in output. The normal capacity of Kariba is 1050 megawatts, but it is currently operating at only 250 to 300 megawatts. At Hwange Power Station, Units 7 and 8 were commissioned, providing a combined output of 600 megawatts. However, Unit 7 recently tripped and required both inspection and repair works, which are expected to be completed by the end of the month. Unit 4, which was also down due to faults, is expected to be operational again on November 21.
The government anticipates reduced load shedding once Unit 7 is back online at the end of November. The repowering of Units 1 to 6 at Hwange will be carried out sequentially, with one unit being repaired at a time. Independent power production projects are also being pursued to contribute approximately 600 megawatts to the power supply. Efforts are being made to secure additional power imports from neighbouring countries, although this puts a strain on foreign currency reserves.
In the medium to long-term, the government aims to increase solar power capacity. Various independent power producers have presented their projects, and it is expected that they will begin contributing to the grid in the first quarter of 2024. Minister Moyo emphasized the need to manage water allocation at Kariba responsibly to ensure generators can continue running until the next inflows.
While Zimbabwe’s installed capacity for power generation is 3,050 megawatts, the peak demand is typically around 1,850 megawatts. The country is currently facing a deficit of approximately 500 megawatts, leading to load shedding. The minister acknowledged that power generation is not constant and can be affected by factors such as equipment breakdowns and the availability of spare parts.
Overall, the government is implementing strategies to address the energy challenges, including enhancing local power generation, increasing solar capacity, and managing water resources effectively to ensure sustainable electricity supply for the country.