Zim imports decline as regional power suppliers struggle

05 Jun, 2023 - 00:06 0 Views
Zim imports decline as regional power suppliers struggle Kariba dam

eBusiness Weekly

Business Writer

Zimbabwe’s power imports have significantly declined, with the country importing an average of 180 MW from a potential 750 MW, official statistics show. 

The Southern African nation has a generating capacity of roughly 2 400 MW, but is producing an average of 1 200 MW due to frequent breakdowns at its thermal power stations, coal shortages and seasonal low water shortages at its largest hydroelectric plant. 

A combination of challenges to payments and production constraints facing some regional power producers, has also resulted in a significant drop in imports, according to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).

From a potential 400 MW the country can import from Eskom, Zimbabwe is only importing roughly 70 MW due to production constraints at South Africa’s power utility. 

ZETDC, a subsidiary of ZESA Holdings, said out of 150 MW the country can import from Zambia’s state-owned power utility Zesco, the country was receiving an average of 50 MW.  

The “contract resumption (is) awaiting ZETDC prepayment of the month ahead,” said ZETDC.

Electricidade de Moçambique is exporting only 10 MW out of a potential 200 MW due to ZETDC’s failure to clear outstanding debt. Meanwhile, generation at Hwange thermal plant continues to be affected by regular breakdowns and coal shortages, ZETDC said. 

ZESA chief executive, Howard Choga, told a mining conference in Victoria Falls l recently that the country was looking to more than double national grid capacity by 2025 in response to increased demand from the mining sector.

“We expect that by 2025, we would have added 2 300 MW to the grid. I must say over 80 percent of the 2 300 MW is demand from miners,” Choga told Chamber of Mines annual conference.

The projects likely to drive this growth include the proposed floating of solar projects at Kariba Dam, increased output of the Hwange plant, which is expected to churn out 600MW and additional capacity from independent power producers.

The country continues reeling under severe power cuts, sometimes lasting for more than 12 hours.

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