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    Lights Out: Hwange Unit 6 Shutdown Casts Shadow on Zimbabwe’s Power Supply

    September 14, 2023 - Audrey L Ncube


      Lights Out: Hwange Unit 6 Shutdown Casts Shadow on Zimbabwe's Power Supply

      Zimbabwe's power supply is facing a daunting challenge following the shutdown of Hwange Unit 6, a coal-powered generator. This unexpected outage, initiated for renovations, has cast uncertainty over the country's power stability and is not expected to be resolved until at least Thursday this week.

      Also Read: Power Crisis No More| ZESA Declares End To Load-Shedding In Zimbabwe

      From Relief to Woes: A Rollercoaster of Power Supply

      After years of enduring power cuts lasting up to 15 hours, Zimbabweans had started to enjoy a period of steady electricity supply in the run-up to last month's general elections.

      This newfound stability was attributed to the successful addition of Units 7 and 8 generators at Hwange, each producing 300 MW.

      The Current Power Landscape

      However, the recent shutdown of Hwange Unit 6 has disrupted this welcome respite. As of now, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) reports that the country is generating 1,343 MW of power, with Hwange contributing 543 MW and the hydro-powered Kariba Power Station providing 800 MW.

      Also Read: Expect More Hours Of Load Shedding: ZESA Explains Why Electricity Power Cuts Have Gotten Worse

      Addressing the Shutdown: A Delicate Matter

      The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) provided some insight into the situation. According to ZimLive, they disclosed that Unit 6 was shut down due to a problem of vibration.

      While the source asked not to be named as discussions about the power situation are considered sensitive, they explained that after the shutdown, a cooling-off period of about two days is required before work can commence. They anticipate Unit 6 to be back in operation by Thursday or Friday, potentially regaining about 150 MW.

      Meeting the Nation's Power Demand

      Zimbabwe faces a peak power demand of approximately 1,800 MW, highlighting the importance of addressing the Hwange shutdown promptly. The country relies on a mix of sources, including Hwange and the hydro-powered Kariba Power Station, supplemented by power from independent producers with solar farms and small thermal power stations, although some are currently offline

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