Zambia’s integrated power utility ZESCO has declared that the country has a surplus capacity of about 1 000 megawatts (MW) at a time the country is also enjoying an economic rebound.
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Zimbabwe blames power insufficiency on breakdowns at its ageing power plants.
ZESCO Managing Director Eng. Victor Mapani said currently, the installed national generation capacity stands at 3 456.8 MW compared to a peak national demand of approximately 2 300MW, according to NewZimbabwe.com.
He was speaking during a high-level panel discussion at the ongoing Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA) meeting in Dakar, Senegal. He said:
We thus have a surplus of 1,156.8 MW that is available for trade within the interconnected SAPP network.
Currently four out of five units are already commissioned and running. We expect to commission the last 150 MW machine, unit 5 by November this year.
He also said that ZESCO was using internally generated resources to progress the 750 MW Kafue Gorge Lower (KGL) hydro project which was being constructed at a cost of approx.$2.3 billion and will be completed later this year in November.
In Zimbabwe, the country has for years struggled with a crippling deficit as it generates about 1 300 megawatts against peak demand estimated at about 2 000 MW.
Installed generating capacity installed capacity of 2 240 megawatts cannot be exploited due to antiquated equipment and frequent breakdowns at power plants.
Imports of 500 MW from Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa and 400MW from South Africa’s ESKOM are still inadequate to close the supply gap.
Zimbabwe is, however, modernising and expanding existing power plants and building new ones with financial backing from China with a view to becoming a net energy exporter as part of its plan to turn the country into an upper-middle-income society by 2030.