Monday, 23 May 2016

ELECTRICITY DEMAND DOWN AS ECONOMY TANKS

DEMAND for electricity has significantly come down since 1999 owing to the slowdown in economic activity over the years, a Government official has said.

Energy and Power Development Secretary Partison Mbiriri said on Friday that the country is facing a deficit of 400MW against a demand of 1 400MW.

Mr Mbiriri said that contrary to reports that the country’s peak period demand for electricity stands at 2 200MW, demand has been coming down over the years. “The 2 200MW that is widely reported was for 1999, our demand is now around 1 400 MW.

“We are generating 1 000MW leaving a deficit of 400MW but on a good day we can go up to 1 200MW,” he said. Currently, Mr Mbiriri said, the country is importing between 50MW and 300MW from Eskom in South Africa to make up the deficit in demand for power.

“We are importing 50MW during the day and 300MW during the night,” he said.
He however, said that the country should be self-sufficient in terms of power by 2018 or at the latest by 2019 when several public and private led power projects are completed, including extension of Kariba South and Hwange.

“We hope that at that time we will be able to export,” he said. Mr Mbiriri recently said that demand for power from industry is much lower compared to last year, which has reduced pressure on the national grid.

Industrial capacity utilisation averages 34 percent due to a myriad of factors including lack of affordable funding, old and antiquated equipment.

Economic challenges have prevented several companies from increasing production or significant new investment going into industry and the economy.

Government is working on a number of new power projects including the expansion of 750MW Kariba South by 300MW and Hwange thermal station by 600MW.

Further, contracts have also been awarded for the re-powering of the country’s three small thermal power stations, which should boost power output.

These ongoing power generation capacity expansion projects will bring the country to excess generation by 2018 in line with the Zim-Asset targets.
The State-owned power generation firm, Zimbabwe Power Company, has also awarded contracts for 3 by 100MW solar power projects.

In addition, the Government also awarded Sakunda Holdings a tender to set up a 200MW diesel plant in Dema while various independent power producers have been awarded tenders to set up solar power plants across the country. herald

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