Solar Power

Dear All,

It has been a long long time since I last attempted to write a Blog because connecting to WordPress was just too frustrating. My Zamtel modem has given up on me, and I am now using an Airtel dongle, which looks as though it might be marginally better. We shall see.

I am making very slow progress with my plans for solar energy. I wonder how other people are getting on? If anyone ever gets the name of somebody in ZESCO who is prepared to discuss Solar Power, please let me know. I am getting nowhere with the MD’s secretary.

I have obtained the latest Kariba levels up to Tuesday 22nd. At this rate Kariba will hit empty (the level at which the turbines no longer generate power) in late January. By then, the rains should pick up the lake levels, so we will get through this season. I fear the news on the Kafue is less good. I was at IteshiTeshi 3 weeks ago and eventually found a Chinese Engineer who could confirm that the power station should be finished by end of November. However, there is a blackboard at the ZESCO office with the river data. IteshiTeshi is only 45m deep; it looks as though it is already down by 7m (so say 38m) and it is losing 8cm a day – so 7.2m by the end of November, or only 31m. I very much doubt that the turbines will have been designed to operate at such a low head – 45m (full) to 31m (expected) is just too wide a range for a water turbine.

And then there is El Nino. I have asked the ZRA (that is Zambezi RIver, not Zambia Revenue) for their historic river flow data….but no reply yet. I obtained a list of El Nino years from a South African weather site and (for my farm) every recent El Nino did result in rainfall considerably lower than my average. If we find the same correlation between El Nino and the inflow into Kariba, then the 2016 problem will be dire.

So we have to keep pushing solar – or diesel, if you prefer to pay 30cents and upwards for each unit of power.




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