ZIMBABWE continues to make progress in its efforts to improve power generation and end load shedding. Last Thursday, a Chinese company Zimbabwe Zhongxin Electrical Energy (ZZEE) announced that the first phase of its thermal power plant on the outskirts of Hwange town is 100 percent complete.
The plant is expected to start feeding 25MW into the national grid in September and this will be increased to 50MW in October.
The company which is rolling out its plants in phases said work on the second phase comprising two plants that will produce 135MW each is expected to start early next year while the third phase is scheduled to be completed in 2025.
This involves the construction of another two plants that will each produce 300MW that will be fed into the national grid.
The construction of a 5MW solar plant is also almost complete and is expected to go online in the next two weeks in the same district.
The plant is being developed by Solgas company which says it plans to establish similar plants in all the provinces to complement Government efforts to improve power generation.
The $1,5 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion which entails the addition of units 7 and 8 is about 70 percent complete. This is expected to add a combined 600MW to the national grid. The units 7 and 8 together with the existing plant will generate an average of 1 300 MW.
The country has indeed achieved a major milestone towards self-sufficiency in power generation that will guarantee both commercial and domestic consumers adequate electricity.
The mining sector which is among the critical sectors that the country is banking on to turn around the economy needs adequate electricity throughout the year.
We are therefore, encouraged by the private companies that have started implementing power generation projects and we want at this juncture to implore those that are yet to do so to start work.
The target should be to produce not just enough to meet national demand but also surplus for export. Government working closely with the private sector is aggressively marketing the country as an investment destination of choice and one of the investors’ demands is uninterrupted electricity supplies.
Government has over the years been spending millions of dollars importing electricity from companies such as Eskom of South Africa and Hydro Cahora Bassa of Mozambique and this has to change. The country should in future earn millions of dollars from exporting electricity to the region and with the private sector support, this is very possible.