Going to bed and waking up in darkness had become the norm for Zimbabweans as the country endured rolling blackouts due to depressed power generation.
But now, according to Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the country has sufficient energy following the completion of the China-funded expansion of the Hwange Power Station, the country’s largest thermal power plant.
“We now have adequate power for economic activities in the country as there is no load-shedding, but we still have other projects that we are designing to increase the production or generation of power in Zimbabwe,” said Mnangagwa soon after commissioning the expansion project of the Hwange Power Station last week.
Chinese firm Sinohydro Corp undertook the expansion of units 7 and 8 of the coal-fired power station, which added two generators with a combined capacity of 600 megawatts. Unit 7 is already feeding into the grid after the successful completion of tests in June. Unit 8 is undergoing tests and is expected to be available commercially this month or in September.
For almost two months, Zimbabweans have been enjoying a near-constant power supply.
Business owners said the rolling power cuts were weighing heavily on economic activity.
“We sell perishable goods, so we need a constant supply of electricity. When you look at the situation since the expansion, we can see that business is now operating in a better manner because, previously, we had to resort to using generators,” Tapiwa Tembo, a butchery manager in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, said.
His sentiments were echoed by David Jimu, an engineer who runs a small business in Mbare, south of downtown Harare.
“When we were experiencing power cuts, the generator was not able to power the large machines, and using generators meant that fuel expenses were eating into our profits,” he said.
Virginia Tediya, a Harare resident, said with the costs of purchasing liquefied petroleum gas being so high, improved power generation has been a huge relief. “It was a hustle because power would be restored when we were sleeping, and sometimes we would sleep with an empty stomach because there was no money to buy firewood or LPG,” she said.
For years, Zimbabwe’s sources of energy have been failing to meet demand. The country’s hydropower station, the Kariba South Station, with a capacity of up to 1,050 megawatts, managed to only supply less than half of its installed capacity owing to successive droughts that had reduced water levels.
Source: China Daily