Hwange Thermal Power Station’s Unit 7 will start feeding power into the national grid on Wednesday following completion of routine maintenance work on it.
This will boost the country’s power generation capacity.
Refurbishment of Unit 4 at the thermal power station was also completed yesterday, adding a further 100 megawatts (MW).
Overall, the two units will feed a combined 400MW into the grid.
Unit 7 was undergoing statutory maintenance for the past month, while Unit 4 was undergoing extensive rehabilitation.
Energy and Power Development Minister Edgar Moyo told The Sunday Mail that the reintroduction of the two units would help ease load-shedding ahead of the festive season.
“On Saturday, November 25 (yesterday), we are adding 100MW to the grid,” he said.
“This will be power from Unit 4, which has been undergoing refurbishment.
“On Wednesday, we are adding 300MW from Unit 7, which has been out for a few weeks and has been undergoing maintenance.
“So, in total, we expect 400MW to be added to the grid this coming week. This will obviously ease load-shedding across the country as power is added to the grid.”
Minister Moyo, however, said Unit 8, which was synchronised in June, was due for statutory maintenance, which is set to begin next week.
The unit, he said, will be taken off the grid throughout December.
“Unit 8 will also have its routine maintenance in December, so it will also be taken off the grid for maintenance,” he said.
“However, this will not severely increase load-shedding, as most industries will be closing for the festive season holiday, with most of the power set to be going to domestic users.
“Unit 8 will be back on the grid in January and we anticipate that there will be a steep decrease in load shedding as the two units will now be back on the grid.”
Zimbabwe has been experiencing increased load-shedding following the removal of Unit 7 from the grid, coupled with decreased power generation from Kariba South Hydro Power Station, where water levels have plummeted owing to unseasonably low rainfall over the past few years.
The decrease in power generation has been exacerbated by the ongoing refurbishment of the older units at Hwange.
On Friday, Zimbabwe was generating 1 285MW — Hwange (674MW), Kariba (570MW) and independent power producers (41MW).
Peak energy demand stands at 1 800MW.
Synchronisation of Units 7 and 8 in March and June, respectively, led to a significant improvement in power generation.
The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) is now refurbishing six power generation units at Hwange through funding secured from the Export-Import Bank of India.
ZPC has already begun some of the refurbishment work using internally generated resources.
Zimbabwe has also been importing electricity from Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa to make up for the shortfalls.