Zimbabwe is heavily reliant on its coal and water resources to produce electricity. The bulk supply is produced at the Kariba Dam Hydroelectric Power Station (750 MW), at the Hwange Thermal Power Station (920 MW) and at three smaller coal-fired power stations, all of which are managed by the ZESA subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).
Zimbabwe plunged into an unprecedented crisis causing the electricity supply to drop to less than half of the country’s demand. The crisis was caused by declining water levels at the Kariba Dam as well as technical faults at the Hwange Power Station. Daily lake levels for 2015-2016 in the Kariba Reservoir were recently noted to be at their lowest biannual average in twenty years, according to Zambezi River Authority data. In February 2016, lake levels were at 477 meters above sea level, or just 11% of operating volume. Maintenance and repairs have led to extensive load shedding causing regular power interruptions with durations of up to 18 hours. In order to improve the situation and meet the rising demand, the Zimbabwe Power Company announced expansion projects for the Hwange (+600 MW) and the Kariba Hydro Power Stations (+300 MW) in 2014.
No major new developments have been undertaken since the commissioning of the Hwange coal-fired power plant in 1988. Today, less than 50% of the country’s installed capacity is available for power generation. A spate of tenders for Zimbabwe Power Company power projects awarded by the State Procurement Board in 2015 and 2016 – for the Munyati 100 MW solar plant, Insukamini 100 MW solar plant, Gwanda 100 MW solar plant, Mutare 120 MW Peaking Power Plant, Dema 200 MW diesel power plant, 300 MW Kariba South Extension, 600 MW Hwange 7 and 8 Extension, 30 MW Gairezi hydro, and repowering of Bulawayo (addition of 90 MW), Munyati (refurbishment from 23 MW to 100 MW), and Harare stations (increase to 120 MW) – have met with significant controversy.
Installed Generation Capacity (MW)
|Power Station||Owner||Installed Capacity (MW)|
|Kariba Dam Hydroelectric Power Station||ZPC||750|
|Hwange Thermal Power Station||ZPC||920|
|Rusitu Hydro||Rusitu Power Corporation||0.75|
|Triangle (Bagasse)||Triangle Ltd||45|
|Hippo Valley Estates (Bagasse)||Hippo Valley Estates||33|
|Green Fuel (Bagasse)||Green Fuel||18|
|Border Timbers (Wood waste)||Border Timbers||0.5|