Zimbabwe to import electricity to address power crisis

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a Series of electrical transmission tower with power lines criss crossing at sunset. /Getty Images

Zimbabwe’s state-owned power utility ZESA Holdings plans on importing power from neighbouring Mozambique and Zambia to address a crippling power crisis gripping the southern African nation.

Zimbabwe is currently suffering prolonged periods of load shedding and spending about $20 million in foreign exchange every month on power imports.

FILE PHOTO: A series of electrical transmission towers with power lines. /Getty Images

The country’s two main power generators, Kariba South and Hwange power stations, have been plagued by water shortages and reliability issues, respectively.

According to a report by the state-owned Herald newspaper, ZESA Holdings intends to import as much as 400 megawatts of power. The imports will be coming from Mozambique’s Electricidade de Moçambique and Zambia’s ZESCO Limited.

While Zimbabwe’s power demand measures about 2,200 MW, it is only able to produce about 1,400 MW necessitating the need for imports.

ZESA’s executive chairman Sydney Gata said the country imports between 200 to 400 MW of power, but this should not necessarily be the case.

Gata said the country’s treasury has failed to sign an independent power producer (IPP) implementation agreement, which would speed construction of such projects and increase Zimbabwe’s power output potential.

“We are importing power because the government has been sitting on an implementation agreement for IPPs for over two years now. We should not be importing (power).”

Gata said that the entry of licensed IPPs meant Zimbabwe could potentially generate as much as 6,000 MW out of which 600 MW could be actualized meaning Zimbabwe would actually be in a position to export power.

This, he said, will help Zimbabwe eliminate expensive power imports and save on expenditure of the country’s foreign exchange.

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