The Hwange Thermal Power Station’s Unit 7 was successfully synchronised with the national grid and started feeding electricity on Monday, 20 March.

The Chronicle reported that the synchronisation, which was done at 6.25 PM, sought to establish if the electricity being generated from Unit 7 would flow into the national grid.

In 1984 four engineers were electrocuted at Hwange Power Station when they synchronised a system that was not yet ready.

Yesterday, the process was done without any complications and after 20 minutes of the synchronisation, 41MW of electricity were being fed into the grid.

It was hoped that up to 100MW would be fed into the grid from Unit 7 later on Monday.

Six hours from the time the synchronisation started, the engineers were going to switch off Unit 7 and conduct checks on the system.

The checks would be conducted for 12 hours, and thereafter, Unit 7 would be brought back onto the grid and be allowed to generate electricity again.

However, it will take time for Unit 7 to achieve the installed capacity of 300MW and expectations are that this will be attained by June this year.

The project manager, Engineer Forbes Chanakira, a University of Zimbabwe graduate, turns 41 next Monday.

ZESA Holdings executive chairman Sydney Gata, who was at the power plant yesterday to witness the synchronisation, likened the amount of work put into commissioning a thermal power station to an “open heart surgery”. Said Gata:

The synchronisation has been successful and I am happy. As ZESA we are proud of this event.

We can gladly say we have a viable investment here. The rest of the tests can now be concluded while the unit is now generating electricity and soon we shall be enjoying more electricity.

The plant was well-designed and well-constructed. Today we have been able to synchronise it with the national grid.

I pay tribute to the project manager Engineer Forbes Chanakira and a team of nearly 200 young engineers for a job well done.

Before the expansion project, Hwange Thermal Power Station had an installed capacity of 920MW.

The addition of 600MW from Units 7 and 8 will take the installed capacity to 1 520MW.

National Coordinator responsible for programmes and projects in the Office of the President and Cabinet Amos Marawa, who was also present during the synchronisation, said ZESA should now start rehabilitating the old six units to ensure they generate more electricity.