Zimbabwe is this month set to commission the first of two new generation units that will add a combined 600 megawatts of power to the output of the country’s largest thermal power station, Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda said Thursday.Soda told the state-run Herald daily that engineers from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and China are conducting final tests before the commissioning of Unit 7 at the Hwange Thermal Power Plant.
He said the engineers are finalising works on the protection system that would allow the evacuation of power from the unit to the grid.
“The testing of the power plant was done and passed. We are only left with the testing of the protection system that allows for the evacuation of power to the transmission system,” Soda said.
Commissioning of the generation unit was initially expected to take place in December but was delayed by the late arrival of the Chinese engineers who “only came into the country in mid-December when we initially expected them in November.”
“There was also a delay in their understanding of all the systems; we are now expecting them to complete the test in three weeks and to have the plant run by end of this month,” the minister said.
The unit is expected to produce 300MW while Unit 8, which is also under construction and is scheduled to be commissioned by the end of March, would have the same capacity.
After the commissioning of the two units, ZESA plans to start major rehabilitation of the existing units at the power station to restore their capacity to 930MW in a move expected to ease Zimbabwe’s electricity shortages.