Rosatom Central and Southern Africa presented its innovative solutions in nuclear and hydro for both on-grid and remote off-grid systems at the Zimbabwe 2nd Renewable Energy & Power Infrastructure Investors Conference (Renpower Zimbabwe). Dmitry Shornikov, CEO of the African division of global nuclear giant Rosatom highlighted the technical and financial benefits of implementing small scale hydro plants and small modular reactors in Africa. He also urged delegates to take note of the increasingly important environmental benefits that these low carbon sources of generating electricity have to offer.
Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 aims to ensure that Zimbabwe becomes a middle-income economy, this is certainly a very worthy challenge that will require vast amounts of stable and affordable electricity to achieve. Power is the key to unlocking the vast economic potential the country has to offer, this in all sectors including manufacturing, mining, agriculture, health and education. Considering that over 10 million Zimbabweans currently suffer from energy poverty, the ambitious goal of the Vision 2030 can only be achieved by pooling all available solutions and developing both on- and off-grid systems.
The mobility of Rosatom offerings in small scale-hydro and small modular reactors (SMRs) can provide Zimbabwe with an excellent solution for power supply in both energy-intensive urban areas as well as remote and poorly accessible territories. Shornikov introduced the company’s wide range of hydro solutions which incorporate various different turbine designs and range from 30kw to 30MW.
He went on to highlight the company’s innovative containerized mini-hydro plants. “A single containerized mini-hydro system is capable of providing electricity to between 250 and 400 houses, installation requires no dam construction and are environmentally friendly. These containerized units have a lifespan of roughly 30 years and the estimated breakeven period for a 1 MW plant with a capacity factor of 93% is only three years.”
On SMRs Shornikov noted that Rosatom’s flagship onshore SMR RITM-200 has an electrical capacity of 100 MW, a capacity factor of over 90% and an operating life of 60 years. “Taking into consideration the current energy shortfall in the country, with approximately only four to six hours of electricity available to households per day, the capacity factor of these innovative nuclear power plants is vitally important. Unlike other clean generating sources which rely directly on nature to produce electricity these units are able to produce power 24 hours per day.”
According to the International Energy Agency report “Nuclear Power in a Clean Energy System” published this year, ‘Modular design and factory construction [of SMRs] mitigates project management risk, which is the single most-important obstacle to financing. SMRs may be able to generate sufficient revenue from the production of heat, fresh water, hydrogen or energy (heat) storage, in addition to the revenue from electricity generation, to recover their costs.’
Shornikov concluded: “In Russia, nuclear provides over 18% of total electricity generation, our industry employs directly over 250 000 employees and we firmly believe that nuclear power is the technology of the future. With our over 75 years of experience I am proud to say that Rosatom’s business contributes substantially to the sustainable development of society. We improve people’s lives, create new opportunities and protect the environment. We look forward to extending our expertise to Zimbabwe and thus contribute meaningfully to Vision 2030.”