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China rescues Zim's electricity crisis

Dec 20 2012 17:50 Sapa-AFP
Electricity

Environmental activists have protested at Eskom's headquarters, claiming Eskom management titles in a campaign to highlight the utility's electricity tariff application. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Harare  - Zimbabwe signed a $400m deal with China's state-owned SinoHydro on Thursday to increase electricity production and ease daily blackouts.

The deal will mean a 400 megawatt upgrade for the Kariba Hydro power station on the Zambezi river, meeting an extra 18% of peak demand.

"We know that this project is badly needed to meet the requirement of the life of the people," said Yuzhi Wang, a SinoHydro official.

Zimbabwe production shortfall leaves residents without power for as many as 12 hours a day.

The country needs around 2,200 megawatts at peak consumption, but generates just under 1,300 megawatts thanks to increased demand, ageing equipment and a lack of investment.

"Zimbabwe and indeed the whole southern African region faces a critical power shortage and will continue to do so in the next few years," said Victor Gapare, chairperson of the state-backed Zimbabwe Power Company.

Plans are also underway to revamp the Hwange thermal power station in the west of the country.

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zimababwe  |  china  |  electricity
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