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.
Minister Soda told The Sunday Mail Business in an interview that the company was waiting for equipment to evacuate power from the plant to the grid.
He 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 6MW of electricity onto the national grid before the end of the year. Said minister Soda:
We did a site visit at ZZEC recently and they assured us by September, the plant will be up and running.
It will open in two phases, starting with25 MW.
Soda added that the new plant will boost power supplies and narrow the gap between demand and supply since the power generated from the plant will be fed into the national grid.
Zimbabwe is currently producing an average of 1 400MW 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 per cent complete will add 600MW onto the national grid.
When the extension is complete, Hwange Thermal will have four 120MW units from the first phase, two 220MW units from the second stage and the two 300MW units from the new third phase to give a total capacity of 1 520MW.
Zimbabwe has in recent years one of the most debilitating power shortages that saw some parts of the country going for 18 hours without power at the peak of the crisis.
The Southern African country has also been importing power from South Africa and Mozambique.
More: The Sunday Mail