Elias Mudzuri,
Energy and Power
Development Minister
 
29 October 2009 – According to Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister, Hwange power station will reach full generation capacity of 750 MW by next June while 90 MW would be produced from a smaller station with help from Botswana to boost output.

Mudzuri said four generation units were running at Hwange thermal power plant and two more units would come to life in January and June 2010.  The have have four units at Hwange which are producing 450 MW and they have a deficit of 300 MW.  According to Mudzuri they will be able to produce 750 MW when the fifth unit is running in January and the sixth unit in June.

Botswana Power Corporation had agreed to invest $8-million to restart Bulawayo power station, which has not generated electricity for nearly a decade.

The deal is similar to one signed with Namibia’s utility NamPower last year, which allowed the company to invest $45-million to rehabilitate Hwange in exchange for electricity.

"We are likely to share 50-50 and the capacity of Bulawayo is 90 MW, but it could go to 120 MW. We are targeting that by June we should be producing electricity from Bulawayo power station," Mudzuri said.

Zimbabwe has faced serious power shortages, relying on imports to make up for the deficit.

The southern African country currently produces 1 100 MW against a peak demand of 2 000 MW and imports between 300-500 MW, mostly from neighbouring Mozambique and Zambia.

To guarantee adequate supply, Zimbabwe has long planned to add two more units at Hwange, generating 300 MW each, and expand its Kariba hydro power plant with two generators, adding 150 MW each by 2012 at a total cost of $800-million.

But the government has so far failed to attract independent power producers and Mudzuri said the country’s unstable political environment deterred private investors.

A unity government formed in February between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that had raised investors’ hopes may yet unravel after Tsvangirai’s party boycotted cabinet meetings over how to share executive power.

State power utility ZESA is seeking an independent power producer to develop its Gokwe North power plant to produce 1 400 MW at a cost of $1,6-billion.

Zimbabwe could also tap 300 MW from Lupane Gas project, a greenfield project at a cost of $300-million while ZESA jointly owns with Zambia the Batoka power project with potential to generate 1 600 MW at a cost of $1,8-billion.

Mudzuri said monthly revenue collections by ZESA had increased since February when the utility began charging for power in foreign currency.

"This October we have had reasonable collection. It has been increasing gradually. I can tell you that we started below $1-million in February and we have increased to about $25-million and our target is 35-40 million," Mudzuri said.