Namibia will help Zimbabwe ramp up power production from the current 450 MW to at least 750 MW at the Hwange thermal power station. Botswana is aiding Zimbabwe in the revival of the Bulawayo station.
NamPower invested $45million in the Zimbabwe power project, which includes the addition of two more generation units later in 2009. Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is investing $8million in the revival of the 90MW Bulawayo station, with a view to boosting the capacity to 120MW.
The Hwange station is already using four units, all revived with the help of NamPower in return for the exportation of an unspecified percentage of the power produced to Namibia. Botswana Power Corporation expects to have a 50:50 share with Zimbabwe, so both countries will get substantial benefits out of the deal.
Zimbabwe has a lot of power generation infrastructure rotting at Harare, Manyame and [the] Kariba thermal power stations. Undeveloped projects include the Gokwe north power station, which has the capacity to produce 1 400 MW, the Lupane methane gas project which has a potential for 300 MW and the Batoka Gorge hydroelectric project, which can generate up to 1 600 MW.
The country’s hydroelectric potential remains underutilised, as it has many projects, which have been on the cards for years. Projects are stalled because investors, who left the country when the farm invasions began in are still largely unwilling to return. Zimbabwe has a peak demand of 2 000 MW, produces only 1 100 MW and imports up to 500 MW from neighbours Zambia, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also has a stand-by agreement for emergency power supplies with South Africa.