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Zimbabwe seeks power import through SADC

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Zimbabwean government aims to improves power supply through power import

In Southern Africa, the Zimbabwean government is looking to import power from its neighbouring countries within the South African Development Community (SADC) region in 2016 to supplement local production.

The country recently experienced a cessation of power imports from various countries including, Eskom (South Africa), Zesco of Zambia and EDM (Mozambique) due to non-payment.

The SADC region has a power shortfall of 8,247MW, resulting in limited access to power imports, reports The Standard.

Talks underway

Zimabawean Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge told local media that the country is currently negotiating with other power utilities from the region, as well as independent power producers (IPPs) to access emergency power.

The added electric capacity is scheduled to come online next year.

“There is a possibility of importing emergency power from the region. Discussions are underway for possible imports to resume in early 2016. However, it should be noted that emergency power is not cheap. It comes at a premium,” said Undenge.

He noted that the Kariba Power Station is generating an average of 475MW and Hwange was producing about 578MW from an installed capacity of 920MW, but government could not increase supplies through imports.

The energy minister said  that government has identified medium-term “quick-win” electrification projects (12-24 months), which would be implemented in the next three years.

“You will agree with me that energy is the main enabler of Zim-Asset goals. We are, therefore, making every effort to increase its availability. The measures I alluded to above are immediate.

“We have also identified medium quick-win projects which we are vigorously pursuing and are well on the way to being implemented. These should add 340MW to the national grid within the next 36 months,” said Undenge.

Progress made

Zimbabwe is a member of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), a cooperation of national electricity companies from 12 SADC member countries.

SAPP coordination centre manager, Lawrence Musaba said the regional average electricity growth rate stood at 4,6% per annum, against a consumption rate of 400 kilowatt per hour.

He highlighted that the cooperation between member countries has resulted in an installed capacity of 58,608MW.

However, available capacity stood at 52,589MW, with operating capacity at 46,910MW, leaving a shortfall of 8,247MW.

Zimbabwe’s electricity generation  is currently set at 1,077MW against a national requirement in excess of 2,200MW.

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.