In order to supplement local electricity production, the Zimbabwean government has indicated its readiness to import power from its neighbouring countries within the South African Development Community (SADC) region in 2016.
It will be recalled that 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.
Zimabawean Energy and Power Development minister, Mr Samuel Undenge told the 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, adding that 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,” Undenge said.
He explained 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.
He 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,” he added.
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 cent per annum, against a consumption rate of 400 kilowatt per hour.
Musaba hinted that the cooperation between member countries has resulted in an installed capacity of 58,608MW, while available capacity stood at 52,589MW, with operating capacity at 46,910MW, leaving a shortfall of 8,247MW.
Zimbabwe’s electricity generation is presently put at 1,077MW against a national requirement in excess of 2,200MW.
Source: Footprint to Africa