By Pamenus Tuso
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development Joel Gebuza has urged the government to invest in renewable energy.
Speaking to Green Energy Zimbabwe after the Committee’s recent tour of Bulawayo Thermal Power Station in Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo, Gebuza said thermal power stations were no longer viable due to high maintenance costs.
“The government should invest more in renewable energy. Most countries the world over, are now switching from thermal power stations to renewable energy. By their nature, thermal power stations need continuous heating. A lot of things get damaged faster than cold renewable energy plants,” he said.
“Clearly, we have no plant to talk about. By international standards and our own standards, we are just lucky (in) that we have capable engineers who are able to patch up things, otherwise there is no plant to talk about,” said Gebuza in reference to the Bulawayo Thermal Power station.
He said the situation at Munyati power station in Kwekwe and Hwange Thermal Power Station was also similar to that of Bulawayo Thermal Power Station.
“These things (machinery) are now ancient. They are no longer reliable and serviceable. Spares parts for the plants are not available,” he said.
Gebuza said Kariba hydro power station was the only one doing better.
“So far Kariba is up to scratch because there has been a lot of upgrades but Munyati and this one (Bulawayo), there is no plant to talk about. We just have to invest in the energy sector. These stop gap measures we are putting in place will not take us anywhere. Sooner or later the whole system will collapse,” he said.
Briefing parliamentarians during the tour, Bulawayo Thermal Power Station plant manager, Engineer Tom Chuma, said the power station is operating below capacity because of constant breakdowns.