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Zesa in import substitution drive.

Zesa is working with Mozambique and Zambia to add an extra 250MW of imports which will help with the winter peaks, while it is now moving into manufacturing of electricity pylons and assembling solar panels in the second half of the year through its Zesa Enterprises Manufacturing Division.

Electricidade de Moçambique has surplus capacity at Cahora Basa and is willing to supply 150MW while the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation can supply 100MW from the recently commissioned Kafue South.

Zesa is now sorting out the payment requirements with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, commercial services manager, Engineer Gift Ndlovu has said.

Zesa is moving into more manufacturing with the manufacturing of pylon s becoming possible once the new Tsingshan steelworks at Manhize near Mvuma can produce the required materials.

Solar panel use continues to expand in Zimbabwe, making assembly of panels an economic and viable option that will make foreign currency go further.

ZESA Holdings consultant for international business, Eng Cletus Nyachowe, told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Energy and Power Development during a tour of ZENT’s manufacturing plant that Zesa was now putting together the major investment to manufacture transmitting channel pylons.

“Most of these things are being imported and members are aware that there is a steel factory that’s starting up in the Midlands. We are going to make use of that steel as a manufacturing requirement in the supply industry,” he said.

Zesa still sees expansion of suers connected to electricity supplies as a major priority, with 2030 now set as a target date for any Zimbabwean who wants a connection able to get one, with solar panels seen as an option for many.

“It’s very possible and we are working on strategies to make that possible. ZENT will be assembling solar panels that will be supplied in rural areas and cities.”

Eng Nyachowe said Zesa is sitting on a backlog of 305 000 potential customers who are still waiting to be connected.

Generation needed to be rapidly expanded, he said. Modelling future growth, ZESA sees a need for an extra 2 500 megawatts over the next three years.

“As we are all aware, currently Zesa is on a maximum demand of 1 700MW. That means that in the next three years we have to create capacity which is bigger than what Zesa is supplying.”

Eng Nyachowe said Zesa was close to closing a deal that will take care of the 305 00 customers that have applied for connection.

“We will be able to meet that challenge. We need to be aware that Hwange Unit Number 7 will be online November this year and Number 8 April next year so that we can bring online an additional 600MW.”

“We are also talking to the regional utilities not just for existing power but we are participating in the development of those new power sources that are efficient in terms of production,” he said.

Eng Nyachowe said Zesa was looking at internal generation and also collaborations with neighbouring countries Mozambique and Zambia. “There are massive hydro resources there and we generate at lower cost than some of these sources,” he said.

Eng Nyachowe said Zesa had a backlog of over 2 000 transformers, largely as result of thefts and vandalism. “We are all aware of the vandalism and as ZESA we are also taking additional precautions. ZENT is designing and manufacturing a transformer made of aluminium wire. Aluminium is not desirable to the thieves,” he said.

Meanwhile, ZESA has concluded separate deals with Mozambique and Zambia that will see Zimbabwe soon start importing an additional 250MW from the two countries, the power utility’s director, Commercial Services Manager, Engineer, Gift Ndlovu has said.

He said 150MW will come from Mozambique’s Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) while the other 100MW will imported from the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO).

Engineer Ndlovu who was speaking during a stakeholders meeting in Gweru said the deal will ease load shedding in the wake of high demand for power.

“In the short to medium term, we are in discussions with EDM of Mozambique. In fact, we were in Mozambique last week where we were concluding a deal to get an additional 150MW from Mozambique. We are still hopeful that should our banks be able to clear the conditions precedent, we should be able to start unlocking that capacity from next week going forward,” he said.

He said the Zambia deal was also a done deal

“We have also concluded discussions with ZESCO of Zambia. You may be aware that ZESCO has just commissioned Lower Kafue power station and they have promised us that we could exploit 100MW from that power station if are able to then make the prepayments that they require. We have a condition precedent that we need to be paying at least US$6.3 million every month to then start using the 100MW facility.”

Eng Ndlovu said ZESA has since submitted the necessary paperwork needed for funding to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to facilitate the payment of the required funds.

For local power generation, Eng Ndlovu said ZESA has secured an offshore facility to “repower” the small Harare and Bulawayo thermal power plants so ad to generate an additional 210MW.

He said the country’s three small thermal power stations, Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati, were currently generating an average of 30MW.

“The small thermals are not doing very well, we have Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati and the three normally give us a total of 30MW. Today they are doing very well like Munyati is doing 25MW, and we are getting 15MW from Harare, so we have a total of 40MW but on average we normally get 30MW.”

Eng Ndlovu said independent power producers were also accounting for 85MW.

He said the major suppliers, the Hwange Thermal Station generates an average of 400MW and the Kariba Hydro-electricity plant which produces 1 050MW.

After the extra 600MW from the two new units at Hwange approaching completion, ZESA has plans to establish a “10 Gorges Project” along the Zambezi River where it anticipates getting up to 15 000MW, said Eng Ndlovu.

“Kariba, is where we are getting our power and is already operational. Kafue, both Lower Kafue and Lower Kafue North and South Kafue, all in Zambia, they are doing very well. Cahora Basa is working in Mozambique.

“Our desire is that once these 10 gorges are developed, we should be able to get up to 15 000MW, which is 15.5GW from the 10 gorges,” he said

Eng Ndlovu said Zesa was working on improving power generation in line with the country’s vision 2030.

“Going into 2030, we are looking at our load going just above 5 000MW and if we can get 15.5GW from the 10 gorges, divided for the three countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, we should get some level of comfort in terms of availability of supplies for the country to support development,” he said.

He said Zimbabwe normally generates an average of between 1 030MW and 1 650MW of electricity for consumption, while the demand peaks to 1 750MW in winter, resulting in a power deficit of between 150MW and 300MW.

The power utility anticipates the national demand for electricity to rise to at least 3 500MW by 2025 and over 5 000MW in 2030 thanks to a perceived economic growth.

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