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Zim geyser project stalls
Zim geyser project stalls
GOVERNMENT’s ambitious project to force property owners to stop using electric water geysers and migrate to solar powered geysers as part of efforts to reduce electricity consumption has failed to kick off, the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets (C&M) can report.
The project was launched in September 2015, and the expectation was that a law would be swiftly promulgated immediately to make it mandatory for all existing and newly built properties across the country to install solar water heaters (SWH).
In fact, government had threatened to immediately stop all new properties from installing electric geysers and give all properties with the gadgets a few days to replace them with solar geysers.
But this has not happened, 16 months on.
Stephen Dihwa, the principal director in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, told the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets that government was still committed to the project but admitted there were serious challenges.
Dihwa, who is currently the acting permanent secretary, said: “We are still committed to it but there is a lot of work to be done. We are still working on the regulatory draft framework which will pave way for the project. What’s holding the project back is that since it will be mandatory, there must be a clear plan. We are also working on the local authority legislation where we want to revise the existing by-laws to ensure that there will be no building that will be approved without solar powered geysers.
“The other issue is to do with quality control. We want these geysers to be manufactured locally. Therefore, we have engaged the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) to work on a series of standards. They should finalise before the end of this first quarter. On the other hand, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has financed the setting up of a laboratory, which will be used to test the equipment.”
It is estimated that about 300 000 electric geysers are currently installed in Zimbabwe and these, according to Samuel Undenge, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, are responsible for 40 percent of average household energy costs.
The project oversight was placed under the Ministry of Energy, with the country’s integrated power generation and distribution company, ZESA Holdings’ unit, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), being the implementing agent.
The rolling out of the project throughout the country would have stimulated the SWH industry.
Several jobs were expected to be created from this venture.
The success of the renewable energy programme is significant not only because it is a major step towards sustainable power, but also because Zimbabwe has an enormous solar energy potential which, if exploited can supply approximately 10 000 gigawatts hours of electrical energy per year.
Zimbabwe is a perfect arena and space for massive solar water heating projects given that the country has access to over 3 000 hours of sunshine per year, meaning that harnessing such a natural source of energy will go a long way in stimulating and sustaining growth in the fragile economy.
Furthermore, diversifying the country’s energy sources would be beneficial for the nation’s energy security. Besides, it would have transformed the energy market.
Analysts said the project could have gone a long way in helping the country save power from the national grid by between 300 megawatts (MW) and 400MW by 2018, which Undenge described as a virtual power plant.
It was also hoped that power saved could be channelled to other productive sectors of the economy as the country is battling to find solutions to its perennial power shortages.
The financing mechanism proposed by Undenge, that is to allow consumers to access geysers on credit and then recover the cost through ZETDC prepaid platform, was always bound to fail.
Perhaps what the ministry needed to understand was that ZESA’s mandate is to produce and distribute power, and its core business is not to save it. To deliver its mandate, it has to make money out of that.
Now, to have ZESA saving power is indicative that the ministry made a wrong move in the first place.
Dihwa defended the move to involve ZESA.
“ZESA will lead the process,” he said.
“Directly, ZESA’s mandate is to deal with the supply side and make money. But indirectly, it’s ZESA’s mandate again to save electricity consumption. Many would think that ZESA’s role is to encourage customers to use more electricity. But, we have realised it is a benefit not only to the consumer but for ZESA to start promoting the demand side management as well. This means that power saved will be directed to the productive sector. ZESA should remain viable by managing some of the demand costs.”
Apart from that, it was always going to be difficult for cash-strapped government to implement the programme, because its purse is almost empty. It is estimated that to install about 250 000 units, Zimbabwe requires about US$200 million, a figure government cannot mobilise.
Dihwa said: “The other problem we have is financing. We have realised that we cannot leave it to households to finance it on their own. That will be unfair. What we have done is that we have set up a committee, which is engaging local banks to finance it. But banks wanted to know how risk will be managed and if there will be a government guarantee of the loans. We, however, said one of the routes should be to link it with the ZETDC prepaid system.”
The Zimbabwe government wanted to copy the project implemented in South Africa, which failed dismally.
The solar water heater programme in South Africa was launched in 2008 and was driven by the department of energy, and managed by South Africa’s power utility Eskom.
This was, however, on a voluntary scheme, unlike the Zimbabwe government’s strategy to make it compulsory for everyone.
The South African project experienced problems and only about 400 000 households and commercial buildings of the targeted one million units were installed in eight years.
Now, Eskom has failed to continue with the project and it has migrated back to the Energy Department, which has since abandoned the project.
Commenting on the failed South African project, Dihwa said: “We are aware of the reasons why it didn’t do so well in South Africa. We have studied the project and we found out that it had to do with the fact that most geysers supplied in South Africa were not working at all and the other issue was to do with the quality of installation.”
Most of Zimbabwe’s power is coming from Hwange Power Station, the country’s largest coal-fired power plant. Kariba South Hydroelectric Power Station, which used to generate about 750MW, is now generating about 285MW after water available for electricity generation in the lake dropped drastically in recent years, affecting power supply in the country.
The country is also struggling to generate enough electricity from its small thermal power stations in Bulawayo, Harare and Munyati because of obsolete equipment at the power plants, meaning the country continues to face increased power shortfalls.
Despite all its problems with local power generation, Zimbabwe has managed to keep lights on in the last 12 months because the country has been importing expensive power from the region.
But it is no longer guaranteed to continue doing so because power utilities from the region have also been having power shortfalls. In fact, the whole Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is currently having a capacity shortfall of about 8 247MW.
This has seen the entire region going through a difficult spell with respect to power supply challenges necessitating load shedding. This means, regional power utilities can only supply Zimbabwe when they have surplus.
Zimbabwe is generating about 1000 megawatts against a power demand of about 1 600MW. To cover for the shortfall, the country is importing about 500MW during peak hours, 350MW from South Africa’s Eskom and 50MW from Hydro Cahora Basa of Mozambique. It is also procuring about 100MW from diesel generators from an independent power producer in Dema.
Electricity is a critical enabler to the development of the economy. This is why government should not be swayed into believing that the importation of electricity is the solution to the country’s power problem, because the swelling import bill is not desirable to the nation.
It is therefore critical for government to ensure the availability of reliable, affordable and sustainable power that addresses the current power shortages as well as meet future demand, which is critical for the ailing economy.
Kariba power generation up 70 percent
Kariba power generation up 70 percent
GENERATION capacity at Kariba South Hydroelectric Power Station, Zimbabwe’s main source of electricity, will go up by 70,17 percent, after the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) reviewed upwards the amount of water it allocates to the plant for power generation.
The plant will be generating 485 megawatts (MW) on average this year from 285MW in the prior year, in what will significantly improve the electricity supply situation in Zimbabwe.
This is for the first time in two years that ZRA, which manages the Zambezi River waters and the use of Lake Kariba on behalf of the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia, has adjusted upwards the power station’s electricity generation capacity.
ZRA was established in 1987 as a successor to the Central African Power Corporation (CAPCO).
“ZRA has increased our electricity generation capacity from 285MW to 485MW. Of that amount, we are exporting about 80MW to NamPower, Namibia,” said Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) acting managing director, Joshua Chirikutsi, confirming the development.
ZPC is a unit of ZESA Holdings, responsible for power generation.
In November last year, ZRA increased water usage for hydropower generation at the dam, from 20 billion cubic meters to 30 billion cubic metres, which ZPC and the Zambia Electricity Supply Authority (ZESCO)’s Kariba North Bank Power Station must share equally.
This means that they would utilise 15 billion cubic metres of water each for power generation during the current year.
At full capacity, Kariba Dam stores about 65 billion cubic metres of water.
ZRA first reduced water allocation to the two power utilities in May 2015, from 45 billion cubic metres to 33 billion cubic metres, citing low water inflows into Kariba Dam during the 2014/15 rain season.
The move resulted in increased load shedding across Zimbabwe and Zambia.
In January 2016, ZRA further cut down water usage to 20 billion cubic metres to ensure that water would be conserved so that generation of electricity could continue to the next rainy season.
This resulted in Kariba South Power Station generating as little as 285MW of electricity, a move which worsened the power supply situation in the country at a time Zimbabwe was battling machine breakdowns at its four thermal power stations.
The current dam water levels is 478,56 metres above sea level compared to 477 metres recorded last year in January. This, however, is still far from the normal.
The Financial Gazette can report that live water storage, which can go up to 10 metres, is currently at about three metres.
Dead water storage is at about 475 metres.
This means that only three metres of water can be used to turn the six turbines at the power station to generate electricity.
Live water storage is used for generating power. When the lake is 100 full, live water should be 35 percent while dead water should be 65 percent.
ZRA, through the rule curve, determines water levels — that is the highest and lowest tolerable level — to which the Kariba dam reservoir may provide firm loads of water for power generation to ZPC and ZESCO, two power utilities which share the water resource for power generation.
The Kariba South Power Station has a capacity to produce 750MW, but has been producing 285MW due to low water levels.
Kariba Power Station was constructed between 1956 and 1960 with an initial generation capacity of about 666MW. But after refurbishment undertaken in 1997 and an up-rating process in 2003, the plant increased its generation capacity to 750MW.
The plant’s general manager, Kenneth Maswera, said: “The station is carrying out several plant refurbishments to maintain generation reliability. The major capital projects are driven by residual life assessments — to prioritise the more critical plant areas ahead of others.”
About US$48 million was set aside for the general refurbishment of the project. New transformers have been installed at the existing plant and governor modernisation has also been completed.
Expansion work at the power station, which is being undertaken by a Chinese contractor Sino Hydro, will result in the construction of two additional units expected to add 150MW of electricity each into the national grid.
The first unit is expected to be completed by December this year and the remaining unit would be commissioned by March next year. This will reduce the need to import expensive power. Zimbabwe is currently importing a combined 400MW of electricity from South Africa’s Eskom and Hydro Cahora Bassa of Mozambique.
The estimated cost of the project is US$533 million. The Export Import Bank of China provided US$319 million towards the project while the balance will be provided by ZPC.
The overall project progress is 71 percent complete. Onsite civil infrastructure which includes the powerhouse is 85 percent complete.
The project also encompasses major underground works requiring excavations. These are access tunnels, headrace and tailrace tunnels and penstocks covering about 3,1 kilometres and the power house and surge chamber covering about 110 000 cubic metres.
There are also surface excavations that include the intake, outfall and transformer platform covering 400 000 cubic metres. Last week Members of Parliament had a tour of the plant.
Daniel Shumba, chairman of the Mines and Energy Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, told the Financial Gazette: “As Parliamentarians, we are now enlightened after this tour of the plant. We are excited about the commitment and professionalism exhibited by ZPC and the contractor, Sino Hydro Corporation.”
It is understood that after completion of the expansion project, the power utility is expected to save about US$78 million annually because Kariba Power Station has been producing the cheapest electricity at US$0,02 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Thermal power stations at Hwange, Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare are producing electricity at between US$0,06 and US$0,08 kWh.
The country is importing electricity from Eskom at a cost of US$0,14 kWh and procuring electricity from HCB and Dema Diesel Power Plant, an independent power producer owned by Sakunda Holdings at US$0,13 kWh and US$0,15 kWh respectively. Expensive imports result in higher blended tariff.
Zimbabwe’s total peak demand is about 1 600Mw but is producing about 1000MW of electricity.
Big boost for Kariba South project
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New alternator for Harare plant
New alternator for Harare plant
THE Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a power generation unit of ZESA Holdings, has re-commissioned turbo-alternator number 1 (TA1) plant at Harare Power Station, a move expected to result in the plant increasing power generation to 40 megawatts (MW) daily, from around 25MW, the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets (C&M)can report.
A turbo-alternator is an electrical generator that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy and is driven by steam turbines.
ZPC’s spokesperson, Fadzai Chisveto, said the station’s turbo-alternator was commissioned at the end of last year. As a result, Harare Power Station is now operating two turbo alternators.
Chitsveto added that plans were underway to have a third boiler mounted, a move which would see the plant increasing its generation capacity to about 60MW, a significant contribution towards curbing the power shortages in the country.
“Harare Power Station’s turbo-alternator returned to service on November 2, 2016, after successful installation and commissioning of the plant. This comes after the long awaited rotor was dispatched from India on July 25, 2016 and delivered to site on the September 23, 2016,” said Chisveto.
She added: “The power station, which is now generating 40MW from TA1, TA2 and two boilers, is expecting another increase in power generation to 60MW, after the third boiler is completed.”
Chisveto also said the power utility had digitalised the turbo-alternator and boilers.
“To ensure that the TA1 is well monitored, Harare Power Station has digitalised its equipment; boilers and turbo-alternators to be specific. (This will ensure that) faults can be detected early and corrective measures put in place on time.”
Plans are also underway to repower Harare Power Station, a process which would see the replacement of existing boilers with new CFBC technology and refurbishment of turbo-alternator plant number 2 and other auxiliaries.
The re-powering project, which will be undertaken by an Indian company called Jaguar Overseas, is expected to extend the plant’s life by about 20 years.
Jaguar Overseas has, however, failed to secure funding for the project, estimated to be US$104 million, more than two years after the Indian contractor won the tender.
It first failed to secure funding from the Export Import Bank of India and is now negotiating with the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank).
Chisveto told C&M: “Jaguar Overseas is still engaging Afreximbank and there are good prospects that funding for the Harare re-powering project will be secured.”
The Harare Power Station re-powering project also includes the construction of a water pumping station and a raw water pipeline from Lake Chivero to the power station.
ZPC has been engaged in negotiation with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) for the water supply agreement and it is understood these have been completed.
What’s remaining is the ministerial validation of the water charges and the agreement is expected to be signed upon confirmation of water charges.
Chisveto said: “Negotiations for the water supply agreement between ZINWA and ZPC have been completed. A few issues remain to be ironed out before the contract is signed.”
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A clear and present danger of Kariba Dam collapse
A clear and present danger of Kariba Dam collapse
ZRA raises water allocation to Kariba Power Station
Power utility engages CZI on load shedding
Kariba Dam wall rehabilitation to begin in 2017
Kariba Dam wall rehabilitation to begin in 2017
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- Power generation further declines
- Zesa sets deadline for metre installations
- Cable thieves cause Gwanda power outage
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- Kariba South power station expansion to be completed December 2017
- Hwange power station generation declines