Zimbabwe braces for massive load-shedding as water levels decline

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Zimbabweans have been urged to brace for massive load-shedding following the decrease of water levels at Kariba Dam and the obsoleteness of three thermal power stations in Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati.

The situation is also worsened by the removal from the grid of Hwange Unit 7 which is undergoing Class C Maintenance for 30 days.

The unit was synchronized in March 2023.

David Madzikanda, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) board chairman this week stated that the country is not importing enough electricity to cover the gap created by these faults and technical glitches.

“Generation at Kariba is very much depleted largely because of water levels. Secondly, we have not been able to import as much as we should be. The other reason is that, all thermal power stations in Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati are currently not running.

“I think we are at a stage of shutting them down. Their problem obviously has to do with the fact that unit 7 is currently out. So, for those reasons, we have got shortages of power,” he said.

Currently Zimbabwe’s peak demand is 1700 megawatts.

Depressed power generation creates huge problems for the production sector in the country. Industries are forced to implement new costly ways to generate electricity.

Energy and Power Development Minister Edgar Moyo, however, assured the nation that electricity generation will be improved.

“One of the units carrying about 80 megawatts came through. Another one will be coming through I think in a day or two with 120 megawatts. Next week, our unit 7 which is carrying about 305 megawatts will be coming on board. That should ease our load-shedding,” he said.

Power cuts are worsening because the main electricity source, a hydro plant at the giant Kariba Dam, is suffering low water levels caused by recurring droughts.

Against these challenges, Zimbabwe is urged to join the rest of the world in researching and embracing new energy resources such as hydrogen, nuclear fusion and tidal and wave energy.

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