Let there be light.

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Let there be light. Fat chance.

Daily electricity blackouts now last up to 18 hours. It will be a bleak winter as temperatures drop in the southern hemisphere.

The energy minister Samuel Undenge says Zimbabwe’s chronic electricity shortages should end by 2018, election year…

Here’s a brief sitrep:

📍The Zimbabwe Power Company says it is now generating 1082 megawatts of electricity, up from 801 megawatts a week earlier. The country’s optimum demand in winter months is 2,200 MW.

📍Technical faults at the aged, decrepit Hwange coal-fired plant means it produces as little as 300 MW. Its full output capacity is 920 MW.

📍The output of the main power source, the Kariba dam hydroelectric plant, shared with Zambia, is dropping because of poor rainfall upstream, according to the Zambezi River Authority. The water flow through the turbines is having to be reduced by 30 percent, cutting power generation by as much as 400 MW in coming weeks.

📍Repair work at the dam wall itself, and turbine upgrades underway by Chinese contractors, mean the water sent through the generators can’t be increased either, even temporarily to ease shortages.

📍Two small coal fired facilities in Harare and Bulawayo are battling breakdowns too and their contributions to the grid are insignificant.

📍South Africa, a previous exporter of power, has its own shortages and Mozambique supplies about 50 MW from Cahora Bassa dam when it can spare it, and when Zimbabwe can pay for it.

📍Various solar developments are in train, but they have a very long way to go to make a difference.

No rocket science here. The worst case is that Zimbabwe can be sure have access to 600 MW, a third of demand.

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