THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has identified medium to long-term measures to bridge the gap between electricity demand and supply currently witnessed.
Power utility, ZESA has attributed the increase in electricity load shedding to subdued generation capacity at Kariba South Hydro Power Station.
ZESA Executive Chairperson, Dr Sydney Gata revealed to ZBC News that Kariba South hydropower station currently generates 300 megawatts against an installed capacity of 1050 megawatts, owing to low water levels in the Zambezi River, which have seen the Zambezi River Authority restricting water allocations for power generation.
The situation is however set to improve during the rainy season.
“Generally power supply in the short to medium term will continue to be a challenge. The predominant factor here is the hydrology of the Zambezi River which seems to be affected by climate change.
“We have 1 050 megawatts of installed capacity at Kariba South. We have been directed to only use 300 megawatts of capacity which means we have lost 750 megawatts which is 50 percent of the dependable capacity of Zimbabwe’s power,” he said.
The power utility however says it has come up with a contingency plan that will address the power situation in the medium to long term.
“We now have contingency plans made possible, we have already received power station proposals from IPPS who want to finance their own power stations, and coal power base load plants. They will aggregate that to 1600 megawatts. This is because we now have a cost-reflective tariff. We are also sitting on over 100 licences for small renewable energy IPP projects,” said Dr Gata.
The government’s investment in the energy sector has culminated in the construction of Hwange Units seven and eight, which are contributing 600 megawatts to the national grid, while several agreements with independent power producers are also expected to improve the power supply situation.