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Hwange Unit 8 Boosts Zim Power Situation

Power utility, ZESA, has begun drawing power from Hwange Unit 8, the second of two 300 MW generating units built at a cost of US$1.4 billion in a move that has improved electricity situation in the country.

The addition of the Hwange units to the national power grid boosted the country’s electricity generation capacity to 1,501 MW of power on June 14, up from 1,151 MW on June 13.

“The output of Hwange Unit 8 first achieved its full capacity of 355MW on 13 June, and then Unit 8 will subsequently carry out a series of performance experiments. Meanwhile, the total amount of electricity produced by the Hwange Power Station has reached a record-high 740MW,” Power Construction Corporation of China confirmed on Twitter.

The two new units were built by China’s Sinohydro, with 85% of the funding coming from China.

Before construction work began on Units 7 and 8, Hwange had an installed capacity of 920 MW from its thermal units commissioned between 1983 and 1987, but breakdowns and ageing equipment have crippled generation, leaving the Kariba hydropower station to carry much of the burden.

Meanwhile, in December 2022, the government announced incentives to help accelerate 1,000 MW solar projects worth US$1 billion planned by independent power producers, seeking to ramp up renewable power generation amid a funding freeze on coal-fired power projects.

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