GOVERNMENT says it will focus on regular maintenance of existing power generation and transmission equipment to increase generating capacity, while waiting for new power plants to come on line. Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister Engineer Munacho Mutezo said this would be part of a raft of measures to be implemented by Government to improve power generation capacity.
He said Government would also pursue a number of “low hanging” projects in the short term.
“The other aspect we are attending to very much is the issue of maintenance so that the downtime on the equipment is reduced. This obviously is related to our ability as consumers to pay Zesa bills timeously and in the right quantities so that we enable Zesa to better service their equipment,” he said.
“However, we are also looking at alternative sources of energy particularly solar where we know the gestation period, that is the time from project conception to power generation, is much shorter than it is for the conventional ones, that is hydro and thermal power stations. That one we can do if we can get all the funding we need within a year.”
Eng Mutezo also urged consumers to conserve energy as this would help reduce load shedding.
He said while the country would also continue importing electricity, it would boost its internal capacity.
“We are appealing to everyone to use power sparingly and also to make sure we pay our bills on time so that Zesa is able to generate more power.
“The other low hanging fruit is the repowering of the small thermal stations Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati power stations and we are actively looking at that so that we can make power available to the nation,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has in recent years licensed about 12 IPPs with a capacity to generate about 5 000MW of electricity but most of them are yet to become operational.
Zimbabwe is presently facing power shortages with the country’s sole power utility Zesa Holdings generating about 1 200MW of electricity against demand of over 2 000MW.
However, to remedy the situation various projects are being undertaken to improve power supply including the expansion of Hwange and Kariba South power plants as well as construction of the Batoka Gorge project.