Hwange Units 7, 8 ready to fire
Farirai Machivenyika-Senior Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority is satisfied with test results from Hwange Thermal Power Station’s new Units 7 and 8 since December, and will make further pronouncements on their status in the coming few days, Zesa spokesperson, Dr George Manyaya, said yesterday.
He said there had been a lot of technical work going on to ensure that Zesa commissions a robust system and acknowledged that there have been challenges in electricity supply owing to the technical challenges at the country’s power stations and Zimbabwe’s capacity to pay for imports.
The combined 600MW from the two new units at Hwange will alleviate power problems in the country and will allow maintenance work to start on the rundown six old units which have capacity to produce 920MW.
Inflows into Lake Kariba and the arrival of the Zambezi flood season will also see Kariba South Hydro Power station stepping up generation, further improving power supplies.
“We would like to thank all stakeholders for their patience, specifically allowing for more time to complete all the technical procedures in the correct manner,” said Dr Manyaya.
“Commissioning is a delicate procedure and has to be done diligently. We are pleased that we have conformed to the standards. Furthermore, we are also satisfied that based on test results that have been taking place since December 2022, the Hwange 7 and 8 units have been well-designed and built to world standards.
“It has been prudent to carefully undertake all the commissioning tests that typically take six weeks in terms of engineering practice.”
Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda, last week told the National Assembly that Unit 7 would be the first one to go online before the end of this month followed by Unit 8 next month.
“The Hwange expansion project is set to ease the demand supply gap and we have put in place all the necessary modalities to meet the target communicated by the Government in Parliament last week.
“In the next few days we will be communicating to the nation through an announcement on the status of the Hwange 7 and 8 expansion project,” said Dr Manyaya.
The two units are expected to add 600MW to the national grid to ease the shortages of electricity in the country due to growing demand as the economy grows and depressed generation at the existing units at Hwange due to old equipment and low water levels at Kariba Hydro Power Station.
Yesterday, Zimbabwe was generating 605MW with Kariba supplying 271MW, Hwange 323MW, and the early 1950s generators at Harare 11MW.
Two other small thermals, Munyati and Bulawayo, both again using 1950s equipment, were not generating anything.