ENERGY minister Zhemu Soda said the government is planning to have a hydropower plant at every dam across the country.
Speaking in the Senate last week after he was asked by senator chief Makumbe on what they are doing to take advantage of heavy rains this year in order to solve the power crisis, Soda said they are increasing power plants.
“Government has plans to make sure that there is a hydro power plant at all the dams that are being constructed so that there is electricity production. Also, looking at farming activities in these different places, when water goes into a dam, there is need for some mechanisms to allow for irrigation.
So the government has plans to make sure that there is hydro power generation at each and every dam across the country,” Soda said. Zimbabwe relies on hydroelectric power. In rural parts of the country, 80-90 percent of the people depend on wood fuel and kerosene for cooking and lighting. Food processing tasks like milling grain are usually carried out with diesel-powered systems.
The country’s generational capacity was measured in February 2016 as producing only 845 MW, against a projected national demand of 2 200 MW and an installed capacity of approximately 1 940 MW.
The electricity supply industry (ESI) is dominated by government- owned power entities, namely the Zimbabwe
Power Company (ZPC) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC). ZPC operates and manages five power stations while ZETDC carries out the system/network operator function, operates the transmission and distribution networks and conducts trade regionally through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).
Much of Zimbabwe’s electricity is produced at the Kariba Dam Hydroelectric Power Station (about 750 MW), at Hwange Thermal Power Station which has an installed capacity of 920 MW, and at three minor coal fired stations. Output at Hwange Power Station, however, remained constrained as Unit 3 and Unit 6 continued to be unavailable due to extended outages owing to funding challenges and delays caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. ZPC recently announced that it surpassed its quarterly energy sent out target of 1,756.21GWh by 2.92 percent in the third quarter.
This was attributed to the increase in water allocation at Kariba Power Station, resulting in increased generation. The output was 20.06 percent above the output for the same period in 2019. In the year to date, ZPC sent out 4,485.74GWh that is equivalent to 82 percent of the target for the period.
Age-related failures at the Small Thermals, (Harare and Munyati) resulted in the frequent shut down of the Small Thermal Power Stations.