The country is, however, facing a serious power shortage after three units at the power station broke down due to old age.
Soda said the power station was producing only 77MW instead of 440 MW.
He could not give a timeline on when the units will be back in operation.
Kariba, the minister said, was producing 350MW. Four units were being serviced but he said the engineers were merely taking advantage of the low water levels in the dam to maintain the units since they would not be working anyway.
Soda said 90 private renewable energy producers had been licensed but only 20 were operational and were providing between 68 and 96 MW to the national grid.
HON. NDUNA: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. When are the debilitating power cuts going to end and what is Government Policy during this period in provision of power to critical infrastructure like hospitals and water treatment plants?
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON SODA): Thank you Hon. Member for raising such a pertinent matter of concern, not only to this House but to the whole country regarding when we shall see the current load shedding coming to an end.
There are a lot of efforts that are being made to that regard with the intention that we will have energy self-sufficiency in the country. You might be aware that in 2018, the Government embarked on the expansion of Hwange Power Station with the intention of adding to the grid 600 megawatts which is currently being worked on. One of the units will be coming on line soon. In the meeting that we held just recently with ZESA, they have now confirmed that Unit 7 shall be tied to the grid on the 16th of March. The second unit which is Unit 8, they are still working on and will be coming in a month later to give us the 600 megawatts. I am aware that people would have wanted this project to be completed early but this is the gestation of power stations, especially power stations when they are being constructed. We could not achieve that earlier than the gestation or lead time which was provided for the project but we now have a concrete date that by the 16th of March – according to ZESA; 300 megawatts will start to be fed into the grid.
I think this week we noticed that there was a depressed power supply situation which was occasioned by an unfortunate outage of Hwange where we lost three units successively from the 23rd and 24th of February. Shortly before we lost those three units, Hwange was sending to the grid around 440 megawatts and we came down to 77 megawatts. This is as a result of the age of the equipment which we have always spoken about. The power station was constructed between 1983 and 1986 and the equipment is now due for replacement. The Government has taken an initiative through procurement of a loan facility which is currently being worked on by way of a detailed project report which has been concluded.
In December, the project management consultancy produced a report which now shows the scope of works that are supposed to be done for the six units that are currently in use at Hwange Power Station. The intention ultimately is to restore the six units to their original capacity, the installed capacity of 920 which will be achieved once the rehabilitation exercise has been conducted.
Continued next page