Hwange electricity exports to continue

Zimbabwe will continue supplying Namibia with electricity from the Hwange Thermal Power Station after the expiry of Zesa and Namibia’s Nampower $40 million deal as the country is lagging behind in fulfilling the contract, a Cabinet minister said yesterday.

Zesa and Nampower signed the deal which saw Namibia pumping $40 million towards the refurbishment of the Hwange station in 2009.

According to the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), in return for the $40 million, Zesa was supposed to deliver 150 megawatts (MW) of power daily to NamPower for five years.

The contract expires in May 2014. Hwange has a capacity to generate 900MW of electricity, but this has been reduced by lack of maintenance over the years.

But Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma said Zimbabwe — which is battling a serious power deficit — will continue to export electricity to Namibia.

“According to the principal agreement, Zimbabwe would supply power until 2014,” he said.

“However, there is a clause which indicates that if the power that we would have provided by the end of the contract does not tally with the agreement, we would go beyond the expiry date in supplying
power.”

Mangoma said he could not give figures on the amount of electricity Zimbabwe was yet to export to Namibia.

Namibia’s Electricity Control Board chief executive officer Siseho Simasiku recently expressed concern that the expiry of the contract would leave his country with a capacity shortage of 150MW.

Simasiku said an alternative supplier needed to be found to close the gap.

“If no alternative supplier can be found in the short term, Namibia will have to buy this energy on the emergency market from the region at emergency tariffs, which is very expensive,” he is quoted saying.

Namibia is importing between 50% and 70% of its energy requirements from the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Zesa recently announced a punishing load-shedding schedule that has seen households going for more than nine hours without electricity every day.

Zimbabwe imports 35% of its power requirements from Mozambique and other regional suppliers.

Zesa says it would soon embarkon a programme
to add 600MW and 300MW in new generation capacity at its Hwange and Kariba power stations respectively to meet rising demand.

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