Zimbabwean president says power shortages to ease in 2023

The Kariba dam between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Built in the late 1950s. Viewed from the Zimbabwe viewpoint. /AFP

Zimbabweans will see a vast improvement in electricity supplies in 2023 as the government removes barriers to power generation investments in the country, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.

The government would take extraordinary measures to ensure that Zimbabwe does not have severe power shortages, said Mnangagwa in his weekly column in the state-run Sunday Mail.

The country has been experiencing severe power shortages, with its people off electricity for up to 18 hours a day after power generation was curtailed at the anchor power station on Lake Kariba due to low water levels and continuous breakdowns at the Hwange Thermal Power Station.

The president said the country must plan for power as if Kariba is discounted, noting that he has already instructed the government to remove all entry barriers to new investments in the energy sector.

An energy expert who declined to be named said there is a need for more investments in new power stations, while the government has to take care of the macro-economic environment and ensure that the investors are not forced to charge sub-economic tariffs.

“So many projects have been licensed, but they have not been commissioned. But as long as the state power utility ZESA Holdings wants to pay for the power in local currency, there will be problems,” he said.

Chinese company Sinohydro is installing two new generators at Hwange, adding another 600 MW between December and early 2023.

Aside from hydropower generation, which has been affected by continuous droughts and changes in the ecosystem, the country will be looking to other power sources, such as solar, wind and methane gas.

In the interim, it will have to make do with power imports from neighboring countries such as Mozambique, which is still in a position to export some of its energy.

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