The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has announced that Zimbabwe can expect an improvement in its power supply, as the Kariba South Hydroelectric Power Station is set to receive increased water supply.
The hydropower plant is expected to increase its generation capacity to 485MW on average this year, from 285MW the previous year, going up by approximately 70%, local media Bulawayo24 reported.
“ZRA has increased our electricity generation capacity from 285MW to 485MW. Of that amount, we are exporting about 80MW to NamPower, Namibia,” said Joshua Chirikutsi, Acting Managing Director at Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC). ZPC is a unit of ZESA Holdings, responsible for power generation.
This is the first time in two years that ZRA, which manages the Zambezi River waters and the use of Lake Kariba, on behalf of the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia, has adjusted the power station’s electricity generation capacity.
Kariba Hydropower Dam
Additionally, the Kariba South Hydroelectric Power Station has capacity to produce 750MW, but has been producing 285MW due to low water levels.
Back in 1997 the hydro plant went through refurbishment, which was followed by an up-rating process in 2003. The upgrades enabled the plant to increase its generation capacity to 750MW.
According to Kenneth Maswera, the plant’s General Manager, the station is carrying out several plant refurbishments to maintain generation reliability. The major capital projects are driven by residual life assessments – to prioritise the more critical plant areas ahead of others.
However, about US$48 million had been set aside for the general refurbishment of the project. New transformers are said to have been installed at the existing plant and governor modernisation has also been completed.
Expansion work at the power station, which is being undertaken by Chinese contractor Sino Hydro, will result in the construction of two additional units expected to contribute 150MW each to the national grid, media stated.
The first unit is expected to be completed by December this year and the remaining unit would be commissioned by March next year.