Kariba, Zimbabwe’s main hydropower plant, is operating at near full capacity for the first time since it was upgraded two years ago, enabling Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to generate more electricity. The worst regional drought in four decades has prevented power generation from the Kariba plant for over a year, resulting in daily power cuts of up to 18 hours a day in Zimbabwe and neighbouring Zambia. Both countries rely on the lake for about half of their power.
Kariba, which was upgraded in March 2018 to increase output to 1050MW, up from 750MW, is now operating at near peak capacity, thanks to higher water inflows to Lake Kariba. It was generating 902MW, according to ZPC.
Kenneth Maswera, Acting Manager with ZPC, said: “There were significant inflows to the lake, which allowed us to run full throttle for the first time during this winter period. There could be some reductions during the first week of September, but we are still within the stipulated guidelines for our allocations.”
Water levels at Kariba have risen five-fold, and the reservoir’s capacity is at 41 per cent, up from as low as 8 per cent earlier this year, according to the latest data from the Zambezi River Authority, which manages the lake.