Zimbabwe Braces for Increased Loadshedding as Hwange Produces Only 73 MW from 920 MW

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Zimbabweans should brace themselves and expect more hours of loadshedding as Hwange Thermal Power Station is producing only a paltry 73 MW from an installed capacity of 920 MW.

This follows massive breakdowns at the Hwange Power Station, which have crippled the plant’s ability to generate power.

According to the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Soda Zhemu, Hwange Power Station is using obsolete equipment which is constantly breaking down and needs to be replaced urgently.

Addressing questions from MPs during a Question and Answer session in the National Assembly, the Energy minister said,

“Depressed power supply outage of Hwange Power Station resulted in three units being lost on 23 and 24 February 2023, respectively.
Zimbabwe Braces for Increased Loadshedding as Hwange Produces Only 73 MW from 920 MW
Zimbabwe Braces for Increased Loadshedding as Hwange Produces Only 73 MW from 920 MW
“Hwange Power station lost 363MW from 440MW to 77MW. The old equipment is due for replacement. The power outage at Hwange was a forced, unplanned fault on the day, and until we have dependable equipment that we need, such outages will be common,” as per New Zimbabwe.

The Minister went on to say that he has no idea when the breakdowns at Hwange Power Station will be fixed and power restored. However, he said that the government would look into the matter urgently.

“Knowing how critical the situation is, the issue will be looked at as a matter of urgency.”

According to the ZESA subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC),

“Hwange Power Station is the largest coal-fired power station with 920MW installed capacity, which comprises of 4x120MW and 2×220 MW units. It is the 14th largest thermal station in the Southern African region and is adjacent to Wankie Colliery Open Cast Mine.

“The station was built in two stages. The 4 x 120MW units were commissioned between 1983 and 1986 and the 2 x 220MW were commissioned in 1986 and 1987. All six units are available, and the station currently generates about 40% percent of the country’s electricity needs.”

However, following the breakdowns, Hwange is now generating only 73 MW, about 8 percent of its installed capacity.
Zimbabwe Braces for Increased Loadshedding as Hwange Produces Only 73 MW from 920 MW
Zimbabwe Braces for Increased Loadshedding as Hwange Produces Only 73 MW from 920 MW
Kariba Hydro Power Station, on the other hand, is only producing 247 MW for a total of 320 MW.

Given that the country has a peak demand of about 1700MW, according to ZERA data, it means that Zimbabwe is currently producing less than 20 percent of its needs, making increased loadshedding inevitable.

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