Zim power generation capacity finally getting new investment

Feb 5, 2011

Frequent power cuts are yet another sign of how Zimbabwe has declined in many sectors in the last decade. The power generation infrastructure that existed did not get the maintenance it needed and there was no new investment to increase capacity to match rising demand.

For a government that has always been obsessive about controlling the major sectors of the economy especially those considered 'strategic' like power generation, it is therefore a major development when Zimbabwe licenses five private power producers, as the Herald of February 4 reports.

...whose projects are aimed at helping a struggling power sector by doubling current electricity output to 4,450 megawatts (from 2,000 MW).  

Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma said that Zimbabwe had also secured $30 million from the African Development Bank (ADB) to fund maintenance at the states's main Hwange Power Station.

Zimbabwe, whose mining firms are major power consumers, now needs about 2,700 MW and imports an average of 300 MW from neighbouring countries.

Its other major energy plant, Kariba Hydro Power Station, has a capacity of 750 MW but is undergoing maintenance that has reduced its capacity by half.

Another publication pointed out the nation has been struggling to pay for imports of power from neighboring countries like Mozambique. The state-owned utility, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, has debts of about $879 million, Newsday, a Harare-based newspaper reported Oct. 18.
So there is  a very long way to go for power generation to meet the need, but at least instead of constantly falling behind the decline is beginning to be tackled and new investment creeping in. 


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