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Zimbabwe’s Energy Crisis Worsens

Harare – Zimbabwe’s energy crisis has deteriorated further, ENN reports. The Kariba power plant is now generating about 100MW, which is 9% of its generation capacity of 1050MW, a source in the Zimbabwe energy ministry has claimed. Dwindling coal stocks for thermal power supplies at ZESA Holdings have also dropped by 72% to 85 000 tonnes, which is not enough to carry the nation for more than 12 days. According to ZESA, coal stocks of 200,000 tonnes are equivalent to 30 days of thermal power generation at 600MW. Zimbabwe’s main coal suppliers are Makomo Resources, Zambezi Gas and Hwange Colliery. The coal suppliers are also facing production constraints due a cocktail of economic challenges. The above developments have led to the resurgence of prolonged power cuts in Zimbabwe. Consequently, industry productivity has dropped significantly as companies fail to cope with power cuts lasting for 19 hours per day.

The situation has even affected mining companies who recently signed a pact with ZESA holdings for a guaranteed supply of electricity from regional supplies in exchange for foreign currency advancements. The miners are enduring up to four days without electricity in a week. Speaking at a mining industry event in Harare recently, ZESA retail manager Owen Mavingire apologised to mining stakeholders for letting them down, citing teething problems. Miners are pushing for a downward review of their electricity tariff from the current 9.86 cents per kilowatt to a range of between 5 cents to 9 cents per kilowatt citing viability challenges. “Electricity imports have a flat fee component and a variable fee component. Our tariffs do not fully cater for the variable fee component as the cost can go to as high as 15 cents per kilowatt”, Mavingire responded. He also urged stakeholders to use electricity responsibly.

Zimbabwe is set to launch its national renewable energy policy on the 13th of November 2019 as a sustainable solution to the country’s current energy challenges. However, considering the high storage costs for solar energy solutions, the renewable energy policy will not instantly address the country’s energy challenges, ENN assert. Zimbabwe must urgently launch an incentive driven integrated resource plan for its energy sector to attract both domestic and foreign capital if it is to save its imploding economy.