Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Waiting for rain, minus an urgent action plan

Waiting for rain, minus an urgent action plan


Kariba dam water level is continuing to decline (undated file photo)

Takura Zhangazha Correspondent
THE rains have sort of started falling in Zimbabwe. The general public impression is that they are late. For many citizens resident in the Southern, western and south east parts of the country these rains are for the next harvest. Between then and now they are now already experiencing the effects of a drought. Food and water are becoming scarce and the grass is no longer green for livestock. So once again the begging bowls are out in parts of rural Zimbabwe. The givers, mainly in the form of government and food aid agencies, are beginning to mention importation of grain but perhaps without as much urgency as those that are waiting for help.

Not that the drought is unique to Zimbabwe. Its predicted to affect much of Southern Africa with the region’s biggest economy South Africa already feeling its effects through water shortages. In Zimbabwe the government has initially presented it as largely being the main cause of the sharp drop in water levels at Kariba Dam.

The reality of the matter is that it is not just about the electricity crisis as largely felt in our urban and industrial production sectors. It is more about its debilitating effect on the lives of a majority of citizens who reside in rural areas. Nor is it just about the vulnerability assessments undertaken by the Meteorological Department or the early warning systems of Fewsnet. Or grand ministerial statements confirming what is already being experienced across Southern parts of the country.

Understandably government will want to demonstrate that it is not only in control of the humanitarian disaster the drought will cause but also the equitable distribution of food aid. In this, it will seek to manage the food aid distribution as carefully as possible because essentially a drought is and can be a big political mobilisation issue.

Especially in our own local context where the opposition political parties have generally and not without some credibility, accused government of politicising food aid.

The problem here is that this is no different a typical response from previous and recent droughts. In fact the major problem has been that government appears to have a singular short term template to respond to our increasingly cyclical droughts.

This generally involves a broad and vague statement from the responsible minister, a mention of it from a presidential address, claims of importation of maize from a neighbouring country and then general chaos about the latter’s distribution. In the end, it is food aid agencies that eventually fill the gaps amidst tight monitoring by government. In between both, it is private players, either millers or their middlemen that enter the lucrative business of maize distribution and selling in the most affected areas.

To state the obvious, this sort of approach needs to be changed. In the first place a drought is a national crisis, not a selective provincial predicament. The failure of crops in one part of the country inevitably affects all other parts and must therefore be handled through a national and symbiotic programme of action.

Because of their continual recurrence, these droughts require a much more urgent and long term national strategic intervention that limits their impact on people’s livelihoods. This is because we have to learn to accept their increasing permanence in our political economy. That is why we should by now have a broader national drought strategy that addresses this particular natural problem in a truly integrated fashion. Not just from year to year but over longer periods of time and seasons. Especially given the data that we already have from previous debilitating droughts such as those of 1991-1992, 1994, 2004, 2012, and now 2015 (the list is actually longer).

We need to shift from relying on colonial legacy infrastructure and plans such as the still to be completed Tokwe Mukosi dam which were intended largely for commercial agriculture.

This must be replaced by a much more people centred response that takes into account not only commercial/industrial priorities for water storage and consumption but also looks at those long neglected in long term central government planning for droughts, the rural and urban poor.

Furthermore, our climate change policies need to be more robust and with contextualised solutions that go beyond attending global conferences where again we rely on the biased knowledge production from the world’s worst polluters of the environment.

As it is, we are not taking the drought as seriously as we should. Beyond the politics of succession, we have a bigger national crisis in the form of the drought that a majority of Zimbabweans are going to be negatively affected by. We need to talk about it and pressure government to do much more than it has previously done and press for longer term solutions that help all and not just the politically connected.

Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity (

Coal mining concerns threaten electricity generation at Hwange

Coal mining concerns threaten electricity generation at Hwange


Hwange Power Station

Hwange Power Station

Business Reporter
HWANGE Power Station (HPS) experiences a deficit of 3 000 tonnes of coal every day as coal miners are failing to supply the adequate feedstock citing capitalisation concerns. HPS consumes 8 000 tonnes of coal daily but miners have only managed to supply about 3 500 tonnes leaving power generation under threat. Hwange Power Station general manager Mr Arnold Chivurayise confirmed the situation during a tour made by Parliamentarians who were assessing the operations of the country’s power plants last week.

“We consume an average of 8 000 tonnes of coal a day, but we’ve challenges with our miners, who are mainly complaining about capitalising their operations. “We currently get an average of 3 500 tones. Every day, we are accumulating a deficit of 3 000 tones and this is a threat to electricity generation,” said Mr Chivurayise.

Situated in the North Western part of Zimbabwe, Hwange Power Station is the largest coal-fired power station with 920Megawatts installed capacity which comprises of 4×120 Megawatt and 2×220 Megawatt units. It is the 14th largest thermal station in Southern Africa.

“Traditionally, we were running with stockpile reserves of 45 days, but we are currently running on 20 days. We are getting most of the coal from Makomo Resources, out of the three miners who supply us,” said Mr Chivurayise. On expansion, Mr Chivurayise said the company signed a $1,5 billion contract with Sinohydro Ltd, last year but to date $3 million has been pooled for initial works.

The deal, which still needs full financial cover, will see Sinohydro Corp add 600 MW of electricity at the Hwange plant as well as a transmission line. Mr Chivurayise said Sinohydro has done the geo technical studies and the Zimbabwe Power Company is working towards financial closure before end of January 2016. Hwange Power station operates as a base load station, with its availability averaging 80 percent and a plant load factor of 65 percent.

The station designs largely represent technologies of the late 1960s and some of the equipment such as the boiler controls has had to be replaced with modern digital process controls.

Govt seeks to solve power outages

Govt seeks to solve power outages

Business Reporter
Zimbabwe is seeking to come up with a long term plan to improve availability of power to support the country’s social and economic policies, the Government said yesterday.

The Government, through the Ministry of Energy and Power Development has invited bids from consultants to produce a National Integrated Energy Policy Plan that will provide a cost effective resource plan for meeting energy demand with reliable energy supply.

“The consultancy work will involve examining available energy resources and determining the least cost energy supply options, evaluating the security of supply options while providing information on the opportunities for investment into new energy projects.

“The consultant will develop the NIERP and associated strategy and action plan that will also establish market oriented and regulatory instruments for investment in the energy sector,” said the Government. The plan should cover the period of up to year 2014.

Zimbabwe is facing power shortages as demand far outstrip the country’s generation capacity.

Hwange Thermal Power Station, the country’s biggest power plant has capacity to produce 920 megawatts and is currently producing less than 400 MW due to recurrent breakdowns.

Low water levels at Lake Kariba has seen Kariba Hydro, with capacity on 730 megawatts, reducing production to around 400 MW, a development that has worsened power cuts.

‘Kariba water levels can last till February’

‘Kariba water levels can last till February’

From Golden Sibanda in Kariba
THE Zimbabwe Power Company says it can maintain current power generation limit of 475 megawatts at the Kariba South power plant until February next year even if it does not rain within that period.

Kariba South Hydro Power Station general

manager Kenneth Maswera, however, said both ZPC and its Zambia counterpart, which draw

water from Lake Kariba for power generation, may have to reduce their individual production to a maximum of 250MW if the prevailing dry spell persists.

The power utility had to reduce generation at the Kariba plant after the Zambezi River Authority, which administers the border river between Zimbabwe and Zambia ordered them to scale down production from the installed capacity of 750MW due to fast receding water level in the lake.

Kariba Dam’s water level should be maintained at 478,7m and 474,8m to sustain its socio-economic mandate for the two Southern African countries, but poor rains in the river’s catchment last rain season means water inflows into the lake did not reach the expected levels.

“Assuming there is no drop of rain (around Kariba Dam catchment area) the current water levels can last until February,” Kenneth Maswera, general manager for Kariba Power Station told lawmakers in Kariba.

“Beyond that all the power stations might have to reduce generation to about 250 megawatts.”

Persistent dry spell would mean further reduction in the water allocation by ZRA between Zimbabwe and Zambia, which currently stands at 40 billion cubic metres after having been revised downward from 45 billion cubic metres earlier this year, which would reduce the optimum electricity available to Zimbabwe.

According to ZRA, water allocation to Zambia and Zimbabwe’s power utilities could be halved if inflows into Zambezi River do not improve, to avoid depleting the water levels in Lake Kariba to critical levels.

The country is already facing critical shortage of power with generation at an average of 900MW while demand at peak periods averages 2 200MW. This has negatively impacted households, commerce and industry.

“The Zambians have already used up their allocations for this year and are already using their allocations for next year. The matter is being handled at a highest level. We have used 85 percent of our allocations.”

“Currently Kariba Power Station is meeting 45 percent of national supply, today it’s producing 468 megawatts. We are now running low to mitigate against the lake running low.”

“The source of water for our dam is in North West of Zambia, Sanyati and Gwai rivers in Zimbabwe, this year our water levels started very low because we didn’t have adequate rainfall from the main supplies. There was no significant inflow into the lake this year,” Mr Maswera said.

The lake water levels still have headroom of about 2,6 metres between which the neighbouring power utilities can maintain current reduced generation of 475MW for Zimbabwe and 305MW for Zambia, which generates on the northern bank of Zambia River, which has an installed capacity of 1 020MW.

Government has already contracted Sino Hydro to expand Kariba South by a further 300MW to resolve power shortages. Other projects are ongoing across the country, the main one being 600MW Hwange extension.

Engineering costs for the expansion of Zimbabwe’s Kariba Hydro Power Station by China’s Sino Hydro Ltd., has increased to $354 million from the initial $369 million due to the increase of inflation from the China, an official said.

More Load Shedding Beckons

More Load Shedding Beckons

Phillimon Mhlanga 19 Nov 2015
Kariba Dam

The current water level is the lowest since the dam was completed in 1958.

A SHARP drop in water levels at Kariba Dam could result in the world’s biggest man-made lake being decommissioned for the first time since it was built in the late 1950s, in what could worsen the crippling power outages being endured by the country’s citizens.
Zimbabwe used to draw about 750 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Kariba South Hydroelectric Power Station, but this has been slashed to about 450MW, as of last week, owing to dwindling water levels at Kariba Dam — occassioned by a drought that ravaged the 2014/15 farming season.
This was after the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), which manages the water reservoir on behalf of Zimbabwe and Zambia, reduced water allocation for power generation at Kariba from 45 billion cubic litres per annum to 33 billion cubic litres.
The current water level is the lowest since the dam was completed in 1958.
Power utility, ZESA Holdings, has responded by introducing a punishing load shedding schedule, which it has hardly adhered to.
In some parts of the country, citizens are going for more than 24 hours, if not more, without electricity.
Now, the Financial Gazette can exclusively report that Zimbabwe is heading towards its darkest days in five decades as power generation at Kariba South falls to critical levels.
The lake is at the threshold of being decommissioned, which will remove Kariba South from the national grid.
What that would mean is that Zimbabwe would have to rely on Hwange, Munyati, Harare and Bulawayo power stations, which are producing a combined 600MW against a national demand of about 1600MW at peak periods.
According to this week’s power generation statistics, Hwange is producing an average of about 500MW; Munyati (24MW); Harare 30MW) and Bulawayo (17MW).
This would certainly strain the country’s frail economy further at a time the International Monetary Fund has revised downwards its growth forecast for Zimbabwe from 2,8 percent to 1,5 percent.
ZRA has cited poor rainfall and failure by the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) — a unit of ZESA Holdings — and ZESCO, formerly known as Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation to uphold the prescribed limits for water usage in generating power as having contributed to the crisis.
In an attempt to stretch the water available for electricity generation until more water flows into the lake in the current rainy season, ZRA has further reduced the allocation of water for electricity generation at Kariba by more than 50 percentage points to 20 billion cubic meters from 33 billion cubic metres.
Even after taking this drastic measure, the authority does not think the worst is over yet.
“At this rate, the lake is likely to close the year at around 10 percent storage, which coupled with below normal rainfall forecast for 2015/16, demands for further reduction in generation capacity for Kariba in 2016,” said ZRA.
Should the projected poor rains come to pass and ZPC and ZESCO continue to disregard the authority’s directive, Kariba Dam could shrink by another 14 percent soon — a level which would be too low to generate electricity.
This would result in the total shut down of the power station, an outcome that can only drive the economy on the brink of collapse.
“At that point, they (ZPC and ZESCO) might just have to shut the generators off because they will be vibrating too much and no longer operating efficiently,” said a source at ZRA, who declined to be named.
A joint venture outfit owned by the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia, the ZRA manages water in the Zambezi River basin, which is shared equally by the two countries.


Energy and Power Development Minister, Samuel Undenge

ZPC and ZESCO operate power stations on the southern and northern banks of the dam respectively.
Failure by ZPC and ZESCO to adhere to ZRA’s directive has resulted in steeped drawing down of the live storage to the present 24 percent level for October 2015, compared to 68 percent for the same period last year.
Compared to October last year, Kariba was 64 percent full while in September of the same year, it was 68 percent full.
Of the total reservoir storage capacity, the dam has about 65 billion cubic metres live storage, a situation which leaves about 116 billion cubic metres as dead storage.
The dam has total water reservoir storage capacity of 181 billion cubic metres.
Due to low water levels in the dam following poor rainfall, water allocation for power generation has since been reduced from 45 billion cubic litres per annum to 33 billion cubic litres.
The latest further slash means that ZPC would again be forced to revise downwards its generation capacity to well below 300MW, which translates to more load shedding across the country.
There is now growing fear that the water level may drop to a point where Kariba Dam may no longer be able to produce any electricity because that point would represent the bottom of the efficiency curve for the turbines.
Continuing generating electricity at the current levels would result in the lake falling below the minimum drawdown level of 475,5 metres above sea level, a situation which could lead to a possible shut down of the power station.
Should water inflows into the dam fail to improve, the situation would be grave, as crippling power cuts would undermine the competitiveness of local industries, and also worsen the low productivity levels in the manufacturing sector.
The country’s enduring power crisis has so far stalled economic growth and has forced the closure of many companies, the latest being Sable Chemicals, which was recently switched off the national grid.
Energy and Power Development Minister, Samuel Undenge said Sable was sacrificed as part of a short-term strategy to avail energy to other sectors.
At least 500 employees were left jobless as a result of the move.
This week, ZRA said hydrological simulations done in June 2015 indicated that if current generation regime continued, the Kariba reservoir was going to hit the minimum operating level by the end of the last quarter of 2015 (0,73 metres above the minimum operating level of 475,50 metres).
This would lead to shut down of power generation activities at Kariba in the early months of 2016.
“Based on the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum forecast and taking into account the prevailing hydrological situation, the water allocation for power generation at Kariba for the 2016 has been drastically reduced to the order of 20 billion cubic metres which is practically half of the 2015 allocation,” said ZRA.
“There was a consensus outlook for the 2015/2016 rainfall season over the Southern African Development Community region is likely to receive normal to below normal rainfall for the period October to December 2015 and the January to March 2016. This forecast is based on the fact that most models predicted that a strong El Nino will develop in the next several months and persist through the southern hemisphere summer 2015-16. This situation is likely to result in below-average river flows with direct impact on inflows into the Kariba reservoir, exacerbating further the energy generation capacity at the Kariba complex.”
Ben Rafemoyo, the deputy chairman for ZESA, said the situation was beyond the power utility’s control.
“Unfortunately, it’s only God, the Almighty who has the answer because as human beings, no matter how we plan, we don’t control rains. We pray hard that Kariba (Power Station), which has been our anchor power station because of its reliability, would not reach a point where we have zero generation. Unless some miracle happens, the dam normally fills up around April/May of each year. If the situation doesn’t improve, there is no other choice but to be shut down. But the danger is; if we reach the zero generation point, we then need three good rainy seasons to go back to normal supplies of water to generate electricity,” said Rafemoyo.


Ben Rafemoyo, the deputy chairman for ZESA

“At the moment Kariba should be used as a peaking station. Unfortunately, we have been running it continuously because Hwange and other small thermal stations were not reliable. Kariba should only operate during morning and evening peak periods so that we don’t stretch it. As you might be aware, Kariba is currently running four units and the other two are on statutory maintenance. So we should bank water and run it during peak periods (morning and evening only). There are a lot of options which include increasing imports. Right now I am on my way to a board meeting at ZESA where we are going to look at management proposals on how we can fill the gap to avert the looming disaster.”
Kariba Power Station, Zimbabwe’s biggest generator of electricity, has been producing relatively cheap and reliable electricity for the country but is no longer able to perform to its optimal due to reduced water availability.
About 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s electricity supplies have been from Kariba, which has been producing power at an average cost of US$0,02 cents per kilowatt hour (kw/h).
The balance of about 40 percent of electricity has been generated from the four thermal power stations at Hwange, Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo at an average cost of between US$0,08 cents and US$0,16 cents per kilowatt hour.
Inefficiencies in the running of these thermal power stations, associated with ageing equipment make the domestic production of electricity relatively expensive compared to regional counterparts.
This has led to ZESA charging a relatively high final tariff of US$0,986 cents per kw/h to electricity consumers, which is a blend of hydro and thermal power stations costs.
In terms of distribution, industrial and commercial charges in Zimbabwe are relatively expensive at around US$0,0983 cents and US$0,1272 cents per kw/h compared to regional average of US$0,035 cents and US$0,076 cents per kw/h respectively.
Such a development has rendered Zimbabwe’s commercial and industrial activities less competitive.
The small thermals were commissioned between 1946 and 1958 and have since reached the end of their design life, which is 25 years.
They are now in a deteriorating state with most of the plants requiring either life extension measures or complete replacement.
Consequently, their generation capacity has seriously declined.
The last unit of Hwange Power Station was commissioned in 1987, which translate to more than 25 years.
In order to mitigate the pending crisis, Cabinet has already approved the installation of emergency power plants powered by diesel generators as part of efforts to avert the worsening electricity situation.
Government is also exploring other renewable sources.
And to keep Zimbabwe out of the dark, ZESA is also looking further afield.
It is pursuing cross-border connections to tap available power from neighbouring countries, namely Mozambique and South Africa.

Just 1% usable water left in Kariba Dam

Just 1% usable water left in Kariba Dam

November 13, 2015 in NationalNews

Water levels at Kariba Dam have dropped to alarming levels, with the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) indicating that if it does not rain anytime soon power generation will be suspended.


Statistics from ZRA indicate that the water levels in the dam are just three metres shy of the point of no usage, as the dam cannot operate below 475,50m. Currently it is at 478,51m.

Water levels at Kariba dropped to 40% of capacity by mid-July and now have declined to 21% with less than 1% left for usage.

The decline, according to ZRA, was due to intensified evaporation in the hot months and late onset of the rainy season.

“The lake levels continued dropping during the week under review [November 1-7]. This is a result of low lake inflows coupled with high turbine outflows. The lake levels closed the week at 478,51m on November 7, which is 5,15m lower than the level recorded last year on the same date,” read a statement by ZRA.

“The Kariba Lake was created and designed to operate between levels 475,50m and 488,50m with 0,70m freeboard at all times.”
The ZRA statement indicated that only three metres are left to sustain the country till meaningful rains fall.

Although the authority did not give an interpretation of the statistics, the latest drop has seen the dam’s capacity going down to 21% compared to 60% recorded last year during the same period.

Zimbabwe, which requires up to 2 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity per day, is currently producing about 895MW inclusive of imports and production from Hwange Thermal Station, less than half of national demand, has seen many parts of the country spending up to 18 hours a day without electricity and crippling industry.


Kariba and Hwange account for 95% of Zimbabwe’s daily power output and the imminent shutdown of Kariba — if they are no rains soon — could worsen the dire situation for the country, which is already in the throes of a debilitating economic crisis that is seeing many survive on vending.

$40m power transformer commissioned

$40m power transformer commissioned

Minister Samuel Undenge

Minister Samuel Undenge

Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter
ENERGY and Power Development Minister Samuel Undenge yesterday commissioned two of the seven transformers being installed in the country under a $40 million emergency power infrastructure rehabilitation project (EPIRP) meant to increase power and water supply.

The Criterion and Mpopoma Substations power transformers are part of the power distribution projects being carried out countrywide through the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor trust fund (Zim-Fund) set up in 2010 through development partners Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Minister Undenge said the projects will contribute supplies to critical institutions and are in line with Zim-Asset’s objectives to increase power generation.

“These projects are expected to re-establish alternative power supply to water and sanitation facilities and improve reliability of power supply as a result of reinforcement of the sub-transmission and distribution networks,” said Minister Undenge.

“Criterion sub-station supplies Tuli water works, Solusi University as well as outlying areas which include Plumtree, Tsholotsho and Figtree. Mpopoma sub-station mainly supplies the Bulawayo industrial load including Mpilo Central Hospital, the major referral hospital for Matabeleland region.”

He said the Zim-Fund power distribution projects have benefited health institutions, schools, irrigation schemes and households in Inyathi, Plumtree, Hwange, Gwanda, Esigodini and Bulawayo.

He said a total of 5,6KM of underground power cables were laid on the feeders supplying United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Mpilo Central Hospital.

The Minister said since the establishment of the fund in 2010, electricity supply to the country has improved.

“The $40 million allocated to phase one covered projects in the whole power supply value chain of power generation, transmission and distribution. The project component includes power generation, sub transmission system reinforcement and distribution system reinforcement,” said the minister.

The African Development Bank’s (AFDB) acting resident representative Mary Monyau said 52 transformers, 15 of them in Bulawayo and surrounding areas were put up to replace vandalised ones.

“Through this intervention, a total of 3,124 additional customers can now be reached as a result of upgraded transformers. Meanwhile 2,435 customers whose transformers had been vandalised have now been put back on supplies. A total of 29KM of overhead lines was also stringed while a total of 5,53KM of old and unreliable underground cables were replaced in Bulawayo,” said Monyau.

She said the bank will continue to work with other development partners and the government to address impediments hampering economic recovery.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Willard Manungo commended Zim-Fund’s development partners for their support, saying they have so far contributed $145 million for different projects in the country.

“Under the EPIRP, the ZETDC’s western region was allocated about $12, 6 million, of which $663,000 and $665,000 was utilised at Criterion and Mpopoma sub-stations. Public sector investment projects are being stalled by limited budgetary allocations due to tight liquidity conditions, depressed economic activity and constrained revenue flows to the Treasury,” said Manungo.

Tinayeshe Mutazu, the director of water resources in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate reiterated the importance of power in the transportation of water.

“Conversely, about eight percent of global energy is used for pumping, treating and transporting water. We therefore appreciate how these two work together to ensure food security, industrial development, access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation,” said Mutazu.

“I’m happy that under the first phase of the water projects supported by Zim-Fund, we were able to stabilise water and sewerage systems in Harare, Chitungwiza, Mutare, Masvingo, Kwekwe and Chegutu.”

Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Cde Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing George Mlilo, Zesa Holdings board chairman Herbert Murerwa, senior officials from the Australian Embassy, Zesa and its subsidiaries, AFDB, Zinwa and the Bulawayo City Council were also present at the commissioning ceremony.

200MW power deal on course

200MW power deal on course

Dr Misheck Sibanda

Dr Misheck Sibanda

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Three foreign companies have been enlisted for the installation of an emergency diesel power plant at Dema substation in Seke as Government moves in to ameliorate power shortages bedeviling the country.

The emergency power plant, being introduced as a stop-gap measure while big power generating projects materialise, is expected to provide 200 megawatts to the national grid.

Installation of the plant will be done at the Dema sub-station and should be complete by February next year.

In a letter to the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, Energy and Power Development Permanent Secretary Mr Partson Mbiriri said a technical committee was already in place to steer the installation of the plant.

Proposals from the three potential bidders were expected to be submitted on Tuesday while the State Procurement Board has been notified of the development.

“Following Cabinet’s decision that a 200MW emergency diesel power plant be established at Dema substation, Seke, a technical committee has already been constituted and three potential bidders have already been requested to submit their proposals on 10 November 2015,” Mr Mbiriri said.

“This will be followed by urgent adjudication and awarding of the contract. Whereas, I formally informed the State Procurement Board of the Cabinet’s decision, the board would rather be informed by the minister who presides over the State Procurement Act.”

Though Mr Mbiriri did not mention the three companies, sources privy to the developments disclosed the companies as Agrekko, a European company; APR Energy headquartered in the United States and Altaaqa Global from the Middle East.

All the companies have done successful projects — at short notice —in a number of African countries such as Angola, Cameroon, South Africa, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Zambia and Senegal.

Tanzania, which announced plans to switch off all hydropower plants last month due to low water levels in its dams, is renting these diesel-powered generators provided by the emergency power suppliers.

The emergency plants are expensive to run and the Ministry of Energy has already notified that beginning February, Zimbabweans have to “bite the bullet” and embrace significant power tariff increases to reduce the load-shedding hours.

Mr Mbiriri said every household had to be on either a prepaid meter or a smart meter.

“It is an established fact that diesel power plants are expensive,” he said.

“Zesa Holdings must prepare for this high operating cost by ensuring that more customers are put on prepaid meters or smart meters.”

Indications are that Government wants to rope in a foreign company to install smart meters on all outstanding points.

The foreign company’s proposal, according to Mr Mbiriri, is to “install the smart meters off Zesa’s poor balance sheet, subject to terms and conditions which are acceptable to Zesa Holdings”.

Consumers are being levied about 9,86c/kWh and the use of diesel generators is likely to see cost moving to 14c/kWh.

The Dema emergency plant will later be complemented by the 120MW that will come from the Mutare Peaking Power Plant, which will take just under 18 months to complete.

The plant is one of the priority projects targeted under Zim-Asset and Zesa engineers have done due diligence on Ansaldo Energia, the Italian company that will supply the contractor, Helcraw Electrical (Pvt) Ltd, with equipment.

A ground-breaking ceremony is expected soon to pave way for construction.

The country has been experiencing acute power outages due to the low water levels at Kariba Dam with some residents going for up to 18 hours a day without electricity.

Zimbabwe is generating half of the required 2 200MW and is working on various other projects, including expansion of existing power plants that will produce over 3 000MW in the next six years.

The projects, some of which are funded by the Chinese, are worth an estimated $5 billion and are in line with the provisions of Zim-Asset.

Climate change threatens mega dam project

Climate change threatens mega dam project

November 6, 2015 in NationalNews

ZIMBABWE’S planned Batoka Gorge power project on the Zambezi River is expected to generate 2 400 megawatts (MW) of electricity, up from an initial 1 600 MW, but the worsening power cuts, blamed on low water levels have renewed concerns about the effects of climate change on mega dams.


In the past two months, the country’s energy utility has increased load-shedding, with rolling power blackouts being experienced for up to 20 hours across the country per day.

The country has, for years, relied on hydroelectricity and is one of a number of African countries that are banking on hydropower to spur economic growth, with multibillion dollar dams expected to generate thousands of .

While there is no timetable of when construction of the $3 billion Batoka Gorge Dam will commence and whose eventual economic dividend will only be realised after a decade of construction, it will add much-needed energy in Zimbabwe.

Officials say on completion of the Batoka hydropower plant, the country will be a power exporter.

However, the long running power crisis has stalled economic expansion and has, in fact, forced the closure of major companies, the latest being Sable Chemicals, which was this month switched off the national grid in what energy minister Samuel Undenge said was part of short-term strategy to avail energy to other sectors.

But the switch-off forced the country’s sole fertiliser plant to shut down operations and left more than 500 employees jobless, company officials say. The company owes the power utility $150 million.

According to Undenge, 80% of Zimbabwe does not have access to electricity, and the Batoka Gorge hydropower plant, a joint project with Zambia that will draw water from the Zambezi, a trans-boundary water body shared by eight countries, is expected to boost power production and bring electricity to remote rural areas.

Early this month, Undenge told parliament that the Zambezi River catchment area was affected by rainfall patterns of other countries.

“Water is still flowing into the Zambezi River from the north, but we are drawing more water than what is flowing in, hence the continued decline in the water level,” Undende said, explaining the reduced power production.

It is these concerns about low water levels that have experts worried, with questions being raised about whether mega dams are viable investments in the long term, citing climate uncertainty and concerns about reduced run-off that would affect dam water levels and ultimately reduce power generation.

The worsening power crisis in both Zimbabwe and Zambia is being blamed on low water levels at the Zambezi River.

Researchers at International Rivers, an organisation that looks at the state of the world’s rivers and how local communities can benefit from them, warn big
dam projects could be rendered useless in the long term because of climate change and reduced run-off.

They favour smaller dams for localised power generation, but smaller dams also cost money which Zimbabwe does not have.

Last year, the climate ministry announced that the country will be constructing more dams to cushion the county against climate uncertainty, at the same time advising heavy industrial electricity consumers to construct their own power generating plants.

In the absence of these private power generators, the Batoka Gorge Dam is being touted as the ultimate solution to the longstanding energy deficit, despite warnings that the project could present its own problems as it does not address climate-related future realities.

Peter Bosshard, interim executive director of International Rivers, says the Zambezi river basin, the location of the Batoka Gorge Dam, has one of the most variable climates in the world, which will increase the dam’s hydrological risks.

“The (UN’s) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that the river (Zambezi) may suffer the worst potential climate impact among eleven major African river basins,” he said.

“Multiple studies have estimated that stream flow in the Zambezi will decrease by 26% to 40% by 2050,” he said, adding that “in spite of these serious predictions, the proposed Batoka Gorge Dam has not been evaluated for the risks of climate change.”

But Hodson Makurira, a senior hydrologist at the University of Zimbabwe does not agree.

“That would be an oversimplification of a complicated and highly uncertain projection of future events.

“The same climate change predictions are forecasting an increase in extreme events, droughts and floods. You would (then) want to capture as much flood water as possible through increased storage. That would cushion you against periods of low flows,” he said.

“Nobody knows the exact magnitude of reduction in flows due to climate change so it may still make economic sense to build dams.”

Bosshard said the dam project’s feasibility study dates from 1993, “and climate change considerations have not been integrated”.

“The project is based on historical stream flow data, which do not reflect future realities. Investors, financiers and tax payers should be aware that the studies for this multi-billion dollar project seriously over-estimate its economic viability,” he said.

But for Undenge, who is increasingly under pressure to solve Zimbabwe’s energy crisis, neither financing nor climate change will stop this ambitious mega dam.



175 MW solar plant on the cards

175 MW solar plant on the cards

Zimbabwe is among the few countries in Southern Africa with the best conditions for solar photovoltaic

Zimbabwe is among the few countries in Southern Africa with the best conditions for solar photovoltaic

Business Reporter
Solar projects which include De Green, Geo-base, and YellowAfrica, Plum Solar and Oursun have capacity to produce $160 Megawatts once construction is complete. Zimbabwe is among the few countries in Southern Africa with the best conditions for solar photovoltaic and is currently attracting investors in that sector.

Sinogy Power Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited plans to construct a 175 Megawatts solar photovoltaic power plant at Chapfucheche Farm in Beitbridge for the purpose of electricity generation and supply.

The solar plant will include the construction of a 220 kilometre transmission line for the transmission of power from the proposed Sinogy Solar Plant.

In a statement yesterday, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe confirmed receiving an application for a licence from the solar company.

“ZERA has received an application from Sinogy Power Zimbabwe to construct, own, operate and maintain a 175 MW solar photovoltaic power plant for the purpose of generation and supply of electricity in Zimbabwe.

“The solar project will also include construction of a transmission line from the proposed Sinogy Power Plant to the existing Triangle 132/36KV substation. The proposed plant will be located at Chapfucheche farm in Beitbridge,” said the Authority.

The licence application by Sinogy was done in terms of the provisions of Section 40 of the Electricity Act (chapter 13:19) of 2002.

The country has over the years witnessed erratic power supplies, which have severely affected industry performance.

Last month, the Zimbabwe Power Company signed the country’s first national solar project with private company, Intratrek Zimbabwe, for the construction of a 100 megawatt Gwanda power plant.

The deal paves way for Intratrek and its engineering, procurement and construction partner, CHINT Electric, to start looking for the $202 million required to fund the project In an interview with the Herald Business recently, ZERA chief executive Engineer Gloria Magombo said they have completed the licensing of solar power projects with an estimated construction cost of a around $250 million.

Zimbabwe has high solar radiation averaging 20MJ per square metre and solar energy can be harnessed for pumping drinking water for rural communities, electricity production, powering lights and appliances at rural institutions, and water heating in urban areas.

$87m for Bulawayo power Station upgrade

$87m for Bulawayo power Station upgrade

Bulawayo Thermal Power Station

Bulawayo Thermal Power Station

Brighton Gumbo, Business Reporter
THE upgrading of the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station has been set for the first half of 2016.

The government has already secured an $87 million credit line from the Export-Import Bank of India to finance the upgrade.

The plant was set up in 1947 as an undertaking by the municipality of Bulawayo with an installed capacity of 120MW but can now only generate 30MW due to aged infrastructure.

The main materials needed for the generation of electricity are coal, water, chemicals, oil, greases and spare parts for maintenance.

Zesa spokesman Fullard Gwasira yesterday said the upgrading exercise would take two years to complete.

He said the exercise would add 90MW to the national grid from its current generation.
“The project is expected to go to tender on the Indian market in December 2015 with actual works having been proposed to commence in the first half of 2016,” said Gwasira.

He said the renovation will involve replacement of obsolete chain grate boiler technology with circulating fluidized boilers (CFB), a new form of technology that burns various grades of coal more efficiently.

“Other works will involve the refurbishment of turbines and generators as well as the balance of plant, thus, enhancing operations at the small thermal power station,” Gwasira added.

“Some of the advantages, which will be realised from the repowering exercise include less carry-over of unburnt coal as well as reduced emissions into the atmosphere.”

He said the addition of 90MW will also lead to a reduction in load shedding, which will have a positive impact on industrial productivity.

Gwasira added that the project will create employment to the Bulawayo community.

The signing ceremony for the credit line was done on October 27, 2015 between the government of Zimbabwe and the Export and Import Bank of India.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa represented Zimbabwe while the Export-Import Bank of India was represented by its chairman and managing director Yaduvendra Mathur.

The credit line has a tenure of 13 years, made up of a 10-year repayment period and three years as grace period with an interest rate of two percent per annum.

The loan comes with a commitment fee of 0,5 percent and a management fee of 0,5 percent.

Minister Chinamasa said implementation of the project would improve the supply of electricity, thereby boosting economic performance as it reduces the cost of production and reliability of power.

To date the Exim Bank has extended several loans to Zimbabwe including a $49, 9 million facility for the purchase of vehicles for the Hospitality and Tourism Industry Ministry and $13 million to Hwange Colliery Company for the purchase of mining equipment.

The bank has also provided a loan of $28 million for the upgrading of Deka pumping station to support the cooling system of Hwange Thermal Power Station.

Hwange refurbishment timely

Editorial Comment: Hwange refurbishment timely

Hwange Thermal Power Plant

Hwange Thermal Power Plant

WE welcome the anticipated release of $1,1 billion early next month by Chinese financial institutions for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station as it will go a long way in easing the current power shortages. We reported yesterday that the first tranche from mega deals signed by President Robert Mugabe and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during his State visit to China in August last year, will be ready next month allowing the expansion of the HPS, being carried out by Chinese firm Sinohydro, to start in earnest.

When completed, the $1,1 billion project will add 600 megawatts to the national grid — a major milestone as the country currently generates under 1,300MW against a peak national demand of 2,200MW. The envisaged release of the $1,1 billion for Hwange represents a major step forward for power generation and will see HPS, the country’s oldest coal-powered station producing about 650MW, almost doubling its capacity.

The government awarded Sino Hydro Corporation the tender to refurbish the power station in June last year after another Chinese company, China Machinery and Engineering Company, had failed to secure funding more than a year after getting the contract. The refurbishment of Hwange is expected to be completed in 2018 alongside the expansion of Kariba South power station which will add 300MW to its the current output of 750MW at a cost of $355 million.

Both projects are being funded by China’s Eximbank.

Other private power producers are at different stages of implementing their projects and from 2016 when at least some of them are complete, Zimbabwe can expect a reduction in load shedding. This is certainly good news for the country and we applaud the Chinese for sticking to the terms of their deal and agreeing to release the money for the commencement of refurbishment works at Hwange.

The combined 900MW expected after the completion of Kariba South and Hwang projects will put Zimbabwe in a position where it might not only meet its domestic power demands but could see it export power to its neighbours.

In the interim, we urge independent power producers contracted by the government to expedite the implementation of their projects so that they assist in ameliorating the current power shortages ahead of the completion of the major works at Kariba and Hwange. The release of the money for Hwange will confound critics who slated the country’s mega deals with China.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister Tsitsi Muzenda confirmed as much when they told legislators attending a pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls on Monday that the power deficit affecting the country would be a thing of the past in the near future.

“We have been working on Hwange 7 and 8 and it will add 600 megawatts into the national grid,” said Minister Chinamasa. “We are looking at $1,1 billion to do it and we should get the money for that in early December from Chinese financial institutions. Financial closure will be done in December.”

Deputy Minister Muzenda told the MPs that the government was also implementing a number of projects that would address power problems bedevilling the country.

“To date, as of September 30, 2015, 33 percent of work (at Kariba South) has been completed,” she said. “Pre-work at Hwange 7 and 8 has been done. I’m also pleased to say that the financial closure of this project is going to be signed by December. We have also to date awarded 300MW solar plants to three companies.”

During the same seminar, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa told the legislators that government was in discussion with South Africa on the importation of about 300MW that will exclusively be for the mining industry.

He said the power shortages being experienced have seriously hampered mining operations, affecting efforts to turnaround the economy.

“We recognise that if we do not sort out power and lose eight hours of power in the mines everyday, all the companies will go on care and maintenance,” said Minister Chidhakwa.

“We can’t afford to do that. We have approached the South Africans. We have opened discussions and yesterday, I was briefed that we are very close to arriving at an agreement for an approximately 300 megawatts, which we will send to the mines.”

He said mines would pay eight cents per kWh for the electricity from South Africa, compared to 13 cents per kWh which they are paying to Zesa Holdings. This is certainly a step in the right direction considering that some mines were considering shutting down due to the 25 percent reduction in electricity supply from Zesa.

We commend the government for being proactive and responding to the concerns of the mining industry which is crucial for the country’s economic revival efforts.

‘High cost of power to affect industrial output’

‘High cost of power to affect industrial output’

KARIBAGolden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
The high cost of power occasioned by the deficit blighting the entire domestic economy and the country in general will negatively affect industrial production, revenues and profits across productive sectors, financial analysts have warned.

Market watchers have forecast the debilitating power shortage to persist until thermal power projects come on board or water levels at the Kariba Dam have improved.

Kariba Dam, where Zimbabwe has a 750 megawatt hydro power station, was until recently the biggest source of electricity for the country before its output was cut to just 475MW.

Zimbabwe faces a crippling power deficit, spawning rolling and spontaneous outages for both industry and domestic users, as it did not invest in new capacity for about three decades.

The Southern African country requires an average of 2 200 megawatts at peak periods of demand, but is currently only able to churn out an average of 900MW after Kariba South was forced to scale down due to drastic fall in lake water levels.

The fall in lake water levels, according to the Zambezi River Authority, which administers the border river, was caused poor hydrological year around the river’s catchment area.

The knock on effect of the demand/supply mismatch due to constrained and insufficient generation capacity is forecast to result in low industrial output, fall in revenues and profit margins.

In its monthly snapshot for October IH Securities said the high cost of energy due to extensive use of fuel powered generators for electricity has strong negative bearing on industry.

“Therefore output across most industries will be subdued in quarter three (Q3;2015), affecting revenues, operating costs are likely to be impacted by higher generator use,” said IH Securities.

Government, through Zimbabwe Power Corporation is working on many initiatives to bridge the power deficit and projections indicate that additional supply from a thermal station will come through at least 42 months after financial closure.

ZPC has signed a $1,1 billion deal with Sino Hydro, also contracted to add 300MW at Kariba, to extend Hwange Power Station by adding units 7 and 8 for an additional 600MW.

Hwange has capacity for 920MW, but currently averages 480MW due to outdated equipment, hence the projected negative impact on the economy due to shortage of the key enabler.

The forecast lands credence to the general picture recently painted by financials released by listed companies including corporate behemoths like Econet, Innscor and Delta, which have registered decline either in revenue or profits.

The myriad of challenges besetting the companies has forced the majority of companies to trade down (cut prices) in to drive low the aggregate demand amid the liquidity squeeze.

Meanwhile, the difficult operating environment has seen activity on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange continue to be subdued with October turnover falling 25 percent to $12,88 million.

Average daily trades came in at $585 000 with Econet, Afdis and Delta making the biggest contribution to total volumes trade at 25 percent, 24 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Rain-making for Lake Kariba

Rain-making for Lake Kariba

Walter Nyamukondiwa in KARIBA
TRADITIONAL leaders on both sides of Lake Kariba have been conducting rain-making ceremonies in line with their Tonga tradition in a bid to stop further decline of water levels in the lake, which is crucial to both Zimbabwe and Zambia. There is widespread concern among people around the lake and the country owing to decreasing water levels which have been attributed to low rainfall in the catchment area, while some chiefs argued that it could be as a result of failure to conduct traditional rites.

Comparative October figures from 2013-15 show that there is gradual decline of water levels as Lake Kariba is now 23 percent full compared to 62 percent in 2015 and 66 percent in 2013. Poor rainfall on the catchment area, plus high generation of power have been cited as the reasons for declining water levels. The water levels have not gone down to such levels since the 1995-96 season amid concerns the river god, Nyaminyami, could be in need of appeasement.

The Nyaminyami, otherwise known as the Zambezi River god or Zambezi Snake spirit, is one of the most important gods of the Tonga people which is believed to protect and give them sustenance. The Nyaminyami is described as having the body of a snake and the head of a fish. The low water levels have affected electricity generation for both Zimbabwe and Zambia which depend on the Kariba Hydro Power Station.

Chief Nebiri of Kariba on the Zimbabwean side conducted a public “bira” on October 17, while Chief Chipepo of the Valley Tonga people in Zambia had conducted his ceremony earlier.

Chiefs Nebiri and his Zimbabwean counterpart Chief Msampakaruma attended the ceremony in Zambia. Kariba District administrator Mr Amigo Mhlanga confirmed the development, adding that a series of such ceremonies have been lined up. Chief Msampakaruma is expected to hold his bira on October 31 and other chiefs in the district are expected to attend, together with Chief Chipepo of Zambia.

“I can confirm that a bira was held in Chief Nebiri’s area on Saturday, October 17 in line with Tonga traditions,” said Mr Mhlanga. “However, I am not privy to what they said in their prayers during the rites. It’s for them.” Mr Mhlanga said chiefs have not been able to regularly conduct the rain-making rites owing to lack financial resources to feed the people.

“We have, however, managed to come up with initiatives to assist them hold their biras as and when they are due,” he said. The Zambezi River Authority, which manages Lake Kariba, also confirmed the biras. “ZRA respects the traditional cultures of the communities through which it operates,” said communications manager Mrs Elizabeth Karonga.

“However, ZRA does not direct the traditional rites, but supports the initiatives as it did when Chief Nebire of the Tonga/Korekore people of the Zambezi Valley in Kariba District held his first ever public ‘Bira’ on Saturday, 17th October 2015 in his chiefdom. “This followed an invitation to a similar ceremony by Chief Chipepo of the Valley Tonga people in Zambia. The displaced communities of the Zambezi Valley in Zambia hold annual traditional rites in their chiefdoms as do all other tribes.”

Mrs Karonga said ZRA could not do much to arrest the declining water levels, but called for controlled water usage.

PC Says Kariba And Hwange Exceeded Productions Target In Q3

PC Says Kariba And Hwange Exceeded Productions Target In Q3

22 Oct 2015
Hwange Power Station

Hwange Power Station

THE Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has said it surpassed its energy production target for the third quarter by 1. 1 8 percent, despite reduced generation capacity at Kariba Power Station.

Zimbabwe generates its power from the Hwange Thermal Power Station, the Kariba Hydro-electric Power Station and three small thermal power stations, Munyati in Kwekwe, Harare and Bulawayo.

ZPC managing director Noah Gwariro said the two main power stations, Kariba and Hwange, had exceeded their production targets for the quarter.

“In the period July to September 2015, Zimbabwe Power Company sent out a total of 2,545.68GWh of energy against a target of 2,515.93GWh, surpassing its target by 1.18 percent,” he said in a quarterly performance update.

A Gigawatt (GW) equals 1 000 megawatts of electricity and this unit is often used for large power plants or power grids.

“This fruitful result was due to high plant availability which was recorded at the stations and the improved performance of Hwange unit 4 during the quarter following its successful major overhaul.”

Gwariro said the ZPC faced a number of challenges during the period under review mainly the receding lake level at Kariba, which resulted in the reduction of power generation to a maximum average of 475 megawatts.

But, Gwariro said the smaller power stations had failed to meet their production targets mainly due to low boiler availability and the unsuccessful commissioning of turbo-alternator 1 at Harare Power Station.

“The decline in revenue collection by our sister organization, ZETDC, has also had a negative impact on our operations. This, coupled with the current economic environment, has prompted us to look at various means by which we can reduce costs in order to sustain our operations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gwariro said work on increasing the country’s power generation capacity at Kariba and
Hwange power stations was on course with the projects at various stages of implementation.

“To date, the Kariba 300MW extension project is progressing well, and currently at 29 percent completion. Initial project activities (topographic and geotechnical surveys) are in progress for the Hwange expansion project, and we are also working towards financial closure.”

He said other projects including the Gairezi hydro power project, the Mutare Peaking Power project and the repowering of the three small thermal power stations were also being pursued to boost energy supplies.

He said the Harare repowering contract was awarded to Jaguar of India and is awaiting financial closure.

“India Exim Bank has offered ZPC a $87 mln line of credit for repowering Bulawayo Power Station, while adjudication reports for Munyati repowering are currently at the State Procurement Board,” he said. FinX

Kariba water levels keep falling

Kariba water levels keep falling
Engineer Chifamba

Engineer Chifamba

Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
ZESA Holdings might reduce further the power generation at Kariba Power Station as the current water levels at the lake keep falling. ZESA and its Zambian equivalent, Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO), were allocated 45 billion cubic metres of water this year but there is a likelihood of a further reduction to 10-15 billion cubic metres, a situation that effects a reduction in power generation by the two utilities.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce business breakfast yesterday, ZESA chief executive Engineer Josh Chifamba said Kariba remains the anchor power generation plant for ZESA because it is a value driver for both the investor and customers.

“The amount of water allocated to ZESA and ZESCO is 45 billion cubic metres for this year and that allocation has since been reduced. This will see us producing 475 megawatts against the previous 750 megawatts. It is likely that next year, between the two utilities, ZRA will make available about 10-15 billion cubic metres which will then move our generation downwards to about 245MW,” said Engineer Chifamba.

“In the mix of our generation capacity, Kariba has the lowest cost of production. So if we lose Kariba then we also lose value. The fact is that any alternative solution that comes will always have a higher cost compared to Kariba.” In trying to mitigate energy challenges bedevilling the country, ZESA plans to set up a quick-win diesel powered generation plant to be completed in about 18 months in Mutare.

Reports say, ZESA has sent engineers to Italy and India for due diligence on the company to supply equipment for the construction of the plant expected to produce 100-300MW. Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge said the advantage with emergency power generation plants is that the final tariff will be blended in the tariffs of all generators. This means it will be before 35 cents per kilowatt hour.

“Tariff adjustments are inevitable in 2016 but we will make sure that they are minimum. Zambia recently announced a tariff hike of almost 10 percent and the situation we are in is not normal and therefore we need to ‘bite the bullet’,” said Dr Undenge.

He said power will not come cheap, and sacrifices have to be made in order to lessen load shedding. Zambian Deputy Ambassador to Zimbabwe Humphrey Mwenya said Zambia is facing the same electricity challenges contrary to reports that the situation was rather stable there.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Power Company said it surpassed its energy production target for the third quarter by 1,18 percent, despite reduced generation capacity at Kariba Power Station. Zimbabwe generates its power from the Hwange Thermal Power Station, the Kariba Hydro-electric Power Station and three small thermal power stations – Munyati in Kwekwe, Harare and Bulawayo. ZPC managing director Noah Gwariro said the two main power stations, Kariba and Hwange, had exceeded their production targets for the quarter.

“In the period July to September 2015, Zimbabwe Power Company sent out a total of 2,545.68GWh of energy against a target of 2,515.93GWh, surpassing its target by 1,18 percent,” he said in a quarterly performance update.

A Gigawatt (GW) equals 1 000 megawatts of electricity and this unit is often used for large power plants or power grids. “This fruitful result was due to high plant availability which was recorded at the stations and the improved performance of Hwange Unit 4 during the quarter following its successful major overhaul.”

500 jobs on the line as Sable threatens closure

500 jobs on the line as Sable threatens closure

Midlands Correspondent
THE country’s sole Ammonium Nitrate (AN) fertiliser manufacturer, Sable Chemicals, will on Sunday shut down following the announcement by Energy and Power Development Minister, Dr Samuel Undenge on Tuesday that 40 Megawatts it has been receiving will be diverted to residential areas.

The firm claims the closure will render over 500 people jobless.

Addressing parliamentarians on Tuesday, Minister Undenge said Government would employ drastic measures that include directing mining companies to load shed operations that would save the country about 25 Megawatts (MW).

The Kwekwe-based company owes Zesa about $150 million.

Sable Chemicals chief executive officer, Mr Jack Murehwa, said the company would on Sunday suspend operations, shedding off 500 jobs in the process.

“We have read what the minister said through the Press. He is the minister and what he says is policy and therefore we wait to see what the next course of action is. What this therefore means is that if power supplies are cut, we will stop manufacturing fertiliser and the 500 people we are employing will become jobless because we have no alternative source of power. Following the Minister’s announcement, we are shutting down on Sunday,” he said.

Mr Murehwa, however, said the company, a joint venture between Chemplex Corporation and TA Holdings’ feasibility studies of adopting new technology, which would use Coal Bed Methane (CBM) had been successfully completed.


CBM is a method of extracting methane from a coal deposit through a process called steam reforming.

Methane absorbed into a solid coal matrix, will be released if the coal seam is depressurised and hydrogen will be extracted.

CBM, which will generate electricity once commissioned, will be fed in the national grid unlike the current electrolysis plant, which was set up in 1972 that has become expensive to run due antiquated machinery.

Mr Murehwa said the company was now looking for funding, believed to be around $600 million to construct a pipeline to transport gas from Lupane gas fields to Sable Chemicals plant near Kwekwe.

When Sable Chemicals is operating at full capacity it requires 115 MW to produce 240 000 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate Fertiliser per year.

This year, the company was geared towards producing 100 000 tonnes ahead of the summer cropping season.

The firm was in September 2009, forced to suspend operations as it could not pay for the high electricity tariffs charged by ZESA.

Government had to intervene by appointing a special cabinet committee to map the way forward.

Production resumed two months later after an internal arrangement between the Government and ZESA.

The country has during the past few years, been forced to import fertiliser as the local companies were failing to meet demand.

The low yields recorded by farmers over the same period were largely as a result of either shortage of the fertiliser or late delivery of the commodity to farmers.

Power Cuts Affect Tobacco Planting

Power Cuts Affect Tobacco Planting

Tabitha Mutenga 1 Oct 2015

The country is generating 984MW against daily demand of 2 000MW

POOR planning continues to undermine productivity in the agricultural sector, and the current country-wide power cuts have exacerbated the situation, negatively affecting transplanting of the 2015/2016 tobacco crop.
Tobacco farmers who plant the irrigated crop from the beginning of September have been severely affected by the massive power cuts that extend for up to 16 hours per day.
This is expected to reduce the area planted and increase production costs as farmers resort to generators to irrigate the crop.
ZESA Holdings, last week published a tight load-shedding schedule that would see most parts of the country go without power between 4am and 10pm every day.
The blackouts have been blamed on breakdowns and repairs at Hwange Power Station and the low water levels at Kariba Power Station.
The generation report from ZESA Holdings indicate that Hwange is now generating 414MW, Kariba 500MW, Harare Power Station 30MW, Munyati 22MW and Bulawayo 18MW.
This means the country is generating 984MW against daily demand of 2 000MW.
The power cuts not only affected the transplanting of the tobacco crop, but they also had adverse effects on the wheat crop that was ready for harvest.
“This winter, for farmers who planted wheat, it was not easy but some of us managed to put a crop on the ground and the season was progressing well and load shedding had become a thing of the past and we were happy. All of a sudden when the crop was almost ready for harvesting, power cuts started and farmers had no option but to watch as the quality and the quantity of the crop was affected because of inadequate water supply,” the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union vice president, Berean Mukwende said.
For a long time, the winter wheat crop has experienced numerous challenges which affected viability. These included intermittent power supplies, rising production costs and reluctance by financial institutions to fund production.
“The power cuts will definitely affect production in terms of agronomy, production and output. Farmers will be forced to reduce area planted considering the fact that the rainfall season is expected to start in December, meaning tobacco farmers will need to continue irrigating the crop and without adequate power supply some farmers may be forced to replant the crop,” Mukwende added.
Although farmers have previously negotiated for dedicated lines under the power supply support scheme especially for wheat and for tobacco growing areas, farmers have always argued that inadequate power supply was negatively affecting the winter crop.
Despite having adequate water to irrigate two million hectares, without adequate power supply, it would be impossible to take advantage of the country’s full irrigation potential to boost productivity.
Most of the country’s dams remain full and irrigation systems lie idle due to poor maintenance and up keep of equipment and of the 220 000 hectares installed irrigation, 153 000 hectares is functional.
Agricultural economist, Peter Gambara, said farmers needed to be innovative when transplanting their tobacco crop to avoid losses.
“The continued load shedding will affect the transplanting of tobacco. Farmers will have to be innovative by making sure they have water carts and a small engine to pump water into the water carts. They then use that for transplanting purposes whereby they apply water to the planting hole.
“They would then hope that they get electricity soon after transplanting so that they can then switch on the irrigation pumps and do more comprehensive irrigation of the planted crop. Otherwise there will be a lot of die backs of the transplanted crop,” he said.
As tobacco contract sales continue after 129 days of marketing, 199 million kilogrammes of tobacco valued at US$586 million had been sold at an average price of US$2,95 per kg.
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Zesa’s poor planning prompted power cuts

Zesa’s poor planning prompted power cuts

LACK of proper planning and poor management of the Kariba Dam has resulted in the current powercuts as both Zambia’s power utility, Zambia Electricity Supply Company (Zesco) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, through its subsidiary Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), burst their water usage ceiling by huge volumes resulting in an unprecedented decline of water levels in the dam.


Kudzai Kuwaza

The Zimbabwe Electricity and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has introduced a schedule of massive power cuts stretching up to 18 hours a day, attributing this development to low water levels at Kariba Dam, generation constraints at Hwange Power Station and limited imports. There are chances that ZETDC may introduce longer load-shedding hours if the crisis persists.

“Previously published winter load-shedding schedules have been reviewed in line with the increased shortfalls owing to the depressed generation levels at Kariba Power Station. In the event of further deterioration of the current available power supply, the level and duration of load- shedding may go beyond the advertising schedules,” ZETDC said in a statement.

The power utility has also blamed weather patterns, especially drought, as well as introducing ridiculous and unusual methods of preserving power supply, which includes the ban on electric geysers.

However, in a report titled Kariba Dam and power crisis: The cost of poor management, Greg Mills, the head of the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation, which has a global network of top analysts, says that excessive use of water by both Zesco and ZPC is the reason for the current major power crisis in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Mills outlines that Zimbabwe has been heavily relying on Kariba for power generation because of its failure to rehabilitate its thermal power stations, while Zambia has also been relying on Kariba to meet the growing demand for electricity, largely because of the growth of its economy.

“Zimbabwe’s power demand is some 2 200MW (megawatts). Its supply is usually around two-thirds of this. In April 2015, for example, Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati stations were producing a combined output of 78MW against a capacity of 265MW. With problems afflicting Hwange Thermal Station, with an installed capacity of 920MW, pressure for continued production has been placed on Kariba to deliver close to its 750MW,” Mills explains in his report.

“Demand for electricity has grown very rapidly in Zambia as new customers have been connected to the grid. These have included residential, commercial, agricultural, industrial, and mining customers. Demand has increased from around 1 600MW in 2008 to about 2 200MW in 2015.”

He says as a result of the growing demand for electricity, both Zesco and ZPC, overstretched the limits of the water they draw from Kariba Dam.

“Kariba has been used to meet this growing demand, requiring more water to drive the turbines, pushing the volume of water use for generation to levels unsustainable by regular annual rainfall and inflows. Both Zesco and ZPC have been using more water than they are supposed to during 2015,” he says.

“Following the completion of the 360MW Kariba North Bank Expansion project in 2013/2014, Zesco has been generating a lot more electricity at Kariba than in previous years. The new turbines are being run much more than they were originally intended to. It seems that Zesco has been operating the intended peaking units much more than the planned three to four hours a day. This means they’ve needed to use more water, resulting in low reservoir level.”

Mills says as a result of the imprudent use of water in the Kariba Dam by both Zesco and ZPC, which was against stipulations by the regulator, Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), power cuts, which were supposed to be minimal, will be prolonged and severe.

He also says although ZRA reduced water allocations to Zesco and ZPC in March, the companies failed to comply with the order, exacerbating the situation.

“ZRA reduced the water allocations for Zesco and ZPC by 12% in March 2015. Instead of reducing their water use, both Zesco and ZPC substantially increased the amount of water used. Between March and June 2015, Zesco overused its water allocation by 39%, while ZPC overused by 16%,” he says.

“If the utilities complied with the allocations from ZRA, there would have been some load-shedding required beginning in March this year, but it would have been minor in comparison with current cuts. This would also have provided more time to source electricity imports and pursue other mitigation strategies prior to the situation becoming a crisis.”

Latest information gleaned from ZRA website this week confirms that high turbine outflows contributed to the low water levels in Kariba Dam, hence current power outages.

“The Kariba Lake was created and designed to operate between levels 475,50m and 488,50m with 0,70m freeboard at all times,” ZRA says on its website. 

“The Lake levels continued dropping during the week under review. This is a result of low lake inflows coupled with high turbine outflows. The lake levels closed the week at 479,53m on 20th September 2015, which is 5,35m lower than the level recorded last year on the same date.”

Zambezi, on which Kariba Dam is built, is southern Africa’s longest trans-boundary river. It rises at 1 585 metres above sea level in north-western Zambia. The river flows for some 2 700km through plains, gorges, rapids and cataracts before spreading out in deltoid form as it enters the Indian Ocean in the east coast of Mozambique. It carries more than 75% of the mean annual runoff of the region’s interior, and drains more than 40% of the landmass.

The Zambezi River Basin is the fourth largest riven basin of Africa, after the Congo, the Nile and the Niger basins. The basin covers 1,3 million square kilometres spread over eight countries, namely Zambia (40,7%), Angola (18,2%), Zimbabwe (18), Mozambique (11,4%), Malawi (7,7%), Botswana (2,8%), Tanzania (2) and Namibia (1,2%). Almost 33% of the total population of the riparian countries lives in the basin.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Busisa Moyo said there is an urgent need to shake-up Zesa to address the worsening power crisis. Moyo said lack of planning by Zesa officials has exacerbated the power problems.

“Zesa needs to be restructured or the country will be paralysed. It’s time to act now,” Moyo said.

“Their current structure is too unwieldy and costly and there is a lack of transparency and lack of wide consultation. The water levels at Kariba should have been foreseen before opening the floodgates last year.”

Economist John Robertson said although the country has been unlucky in terms of rainfall, the failure to rehabilitate power infrastructure has worsened the power situation considerably.

“If Hwange Power Station was working properly this would have reduced load-shedding considerably,” he said.

Robertson said the lack of proper maintenance of the various power stations as well the failure to capacitate the National Railways of Zimbabwe has compounded the problem of prolonged load-shedding.

He said Zesa should have put in place contingency plans to help ameliorate the power crisis which is further damaging the country’s economy already hard hit by a plethora of challenges, among them, a crippling liquidity crunch, low capacity utilisation, company closures and massive job losses .

According to latest figures published on the ZPC website as of Wednesday, Hwange is currently generating 478 Megawatts (MW), Kariba 445 MW, Harare Power Station 30MW, Munyati 27MW and Bulawayo 18MW, translating to a mere 998MW for the whole country against a local total demand of 2 200MW.

ZETDC 2015 Summer Load Shedding Programmes

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60 Percent Of Zimbabweans Live In The Dark – Govt

60 Percent Of Zimbabweans Live In The Dark – Govt

29 Sep 2015
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Towns and cities are experiencing up to 18 hours of load shedding per day as ZESA Holdings grapples to meet demand.

THE Zimbabwe government on Tuesday said that more than 60 percent of the country’s 13 million people have no access to electricity as the country struggles to meet demand, accelerating deforestation and woodland degradation.

Energy ministry Permanent Secretary Partson Mbiriri told delegates attending commemorations of the Clean Energy Week in the capital that most people in the country were still using traditional sources of energy such as firewood for cooking.

“A recent survey by the Institute of Environmental Studies (IES) of the University of Zimbabwe, shows that of the 13,1 million in Zimbabwe about eight million or 60 percent have no access to electricity,” said Mbiriri.

The southern African country is in the throes of biting electricity shortages causing rolling power cuts and produces about 1,000 megawatts of electricity daily, less than half its peak demand, forcing local industries to use costly diesel generators to keep operations running while households resort to firewood.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Zimbabwe lost an annual average of 327,000 hectares of forests between 1990 and 2010 and Mbiriri said the environmental impact could be devastating.

“We need to look for innovative solution to help the bulk of the population residing in rural areas access modern forms of energy. We cannot continue to think that it is normal for the bulk of the population to continue using firewood, more so when our forests are dwindling,” he said.

Mbiriri noted that access to modern forms of energy could unlock a lot of potential in rural areas and other areas deprived of such energy.

Last week, the power utility ZESA Holdings published a load shedding schedule showing that all towns and cities will experience up 18 hours per day as it grapples to meet demand.

Recently, Zesa announced that Hwange thermal power station would undergo maintenance until October 7, while Kariba, which has cut back on generation due to low water levels, would see its maintenance stretch to January 28, 2016. -The Source

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