Darkness Descends on Zimbabwe: Hwange Power Station's Shocking Drop in Production to Mere 73 MW from 920 MW Spells More Hours of Loadshedding!(Photo by Cristian HERNANDEZ / AFP)

Zimbabwe Braces for Increased Loadshedding as Hwange Produces Only 73 MW from 920 MW

Zimbabweans should prepare for more extended hours of loadshedding as Hwange Thermal Power Station is producing a meagre 73 MW from an installed capacity of 920 MW. This comes after extensive breakdowns at the Hwange Power Station, which have hindered its ability to generate electricity.

Paltry Output at Hwange Power Station

Hwange Power Station, which is Zimbabwe’s largest coal-fired power plant with an installed capacity of 920 MW, is currently producing only 73 MW, representing about 8% of its installed capacity. The plant has six units, comprising 4x120MW and 2×220 MW units. All six units are available, but the old equipment is failing, leading to a significant decline in power generation.

Obsolete Equipment at Hwange Power Station

According to the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Soda Zhemu, Hwange Power Station is using obsolete equipment that is continually breaking down and requires urgent replacement. During a Q&A session in the National Assembly, the minister stated that the depressed power supply outage of Hwange Power Station resulted from three units being lost on 23 and 24 February 2023, respectively.

The power outage caused Hwange Power Station to lose 363 MW, reducing its output from 440 MW to 77 MW.   This has since gone down to 73 MW.  The minister noted that until the old equipment is replaced with dependable equipment, such outages would continue to be common.

Uncertainty over Restoration of Power

The Energy minister acknowledged that he had no idea when the breakdowns at Hwange Power Station would be resolved, and power restored. However, the government will look into the matter urgently, considering how critical the situation is.

Poor Performance at Kariba Hydro Power Station

Kariba Hydro Power Station, on the other hand, is only producing 247 MW for a total of 320 MW. Zimbabwe’s peak demand is approximately 1700 MW, according to ZERA data. This means that Zimbabwe is currently producing less than 20% of its power needs, making increased load shedding inevitable.

Consequently, Zimbabweans are advised to brace themselves for extended hours of load shedding.