By Thoboloko Ntšonyane
MASERU- The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) has announced that the ‘Muela Power Station’s Unit 1 is back to its full operation after a year of breakdown.
This the Authority has said in a statement.
The Authority has said its efforts to restore to normalcy has culminated into successful restoration and the Unit has been operational since July 13.
By way of background, Unit 1 broke on June 18, 2022 resulting in low generating power capacity.
“This significant achievement not only brings relief to LHDA but also fulfils the government of Lesotho’s aim to provide access to energy for Basotho, and reduce the financial burden of electricity importation.
“The LHDA assembled a team of highly skilled internal engineers and technicians who demonstrated their proficiency in effectively managing the replacement of hydropower machinery and equipment. The Team meticulously dismantled both the turbine and generator, and finally, skilfully reassembled the entire turbine, shaft, and generator, ensuring the smooth and successful restoration of the Unit,” reads the LHDA’s statement in pertinent part.
The return of Unit 1 to full operation, LHDA said it is a testament to “commitment to sustainable energy production and contribution to Lesotho meeting its renewable energy targets”.
‘Muela Hydropower Station produces about 72 megawatts and it is one of the largest sources of energy supply in Lesotho. It is said to be producing just over 50 percent of electricity for the country.
The country’s need for energy is said to be about 150 megawatts save for winter when the consumption surges. Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC), the power utility, reported in May that in June last year, the country consumed 196 megawatts of electricity.
It would be recalled that in June, Lesotho received and launched the completion of Phase I project of Ramarothole Solar Power Station in Mafeteng. This plant has a generation capacity of 30 megawatts. At this rate, Lesotho produces about 100 megawatts of clean energy and imports the rest.
The broken Unit that had 24 megawatts generating capacity left the country producing about 48 megawatts and importing more electricity from South Africa and Mozambique.
‘Muela Hydropower sells the electricity to the LEC which in terms sells to the different categories of users.
“Indeed, we are delighted to make this announcement, after a year of around-the-clock work by our dedicated teams.” said LHDA’s Chief Executive, Tente Tente.
He continued: “This achievement represents a significant step forward in our efforts to [provide] accessible and reliable energy for Lesotho. We extend our gratitude to the dedicated team whose hard work and expertise made this accomplishment possible. An invaluable experience has been gained, and there are lots of lessons learned to be shared with the hydropower fraternity “.