We were starting to think it was never gonna happen. We had been told that the commissioning of Hwange Unit 7 was imminent too many times before. The day finally came, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) is proud to announce.
Unit 7 was successfully synchronised late yesterday, Monday the 20th of March. As we speak, some of you are using power from Unit 7, which must be nice. Most of us are in darkness still though, so what gives?
Why you won’t feel the difference
Unit 7 has a 300MW capacity but will not be doling that out from the get-go. They will be easing it into it. Said ZPC,
Power will be progressively fed into the grid until it reaches 300 MW
Power generation statistics say we are producing 522MW today, with 323MW coming from Hwange and 199MW from Kariba. Let that sink in, Hwange is producing more than Kariba. How the mighty have fallen.
Do remember that the national peak demand reaches 2200MW in winter. So, even if we got the full 300MW from Unit 7, we still would have a massive deficit, meaning power cuts would still be the norm.
At Hwange, we have to remember that we just added Unit 7, meaning there are 6 other units. We cannot count on Units 1-6 unfortunately, so we might as well call this new unit, ‘Unit 1.’
ZPC did not say when we can expect to be getting the full 300MW from Unit 7. Time will tell.
Unit 8 going live in October
What we have been promised is that Unit 8, the second 300MW plant will be live in October. While we may end up not meeting that deadline, we can be sure it will be commissioned before the year is up. Or maybe not, this is the ZPC we are talking about.
Whatever the case, this was US$1.4bn well spent. The two new units cost a combined US$1.4bn and one wonders where Hwange would be if the lost US$15bn had been channelled there. It might be best not to dwell on that.