- The 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station has been commissioned in Zambia by the country’s president, Hon Edgar Lungu.
- Construction began back in 2015 but was suspended in September 2019 by China’s Sinohydro Corporation due to the Zambian government’s failure to keep up construction milestone payments. Read more
- The hydro-power station is expected to increase Zambia’s power supply by 38%.
“Our country has, over the years, seen increased demand for electricity to power activities. Demand has been recorded in sectors such as education, mining, health services, agriculture, tourism, industries, and indeed our homes. This increase demand for powers necessitated accelerated investments in power generation and transmission infrastructure. It is no secret that between 1977 and 2011, power generation investment was not directly proportional to the increase in demand,” said President Lungu.
The project is situated 7km downstream from the existing 900MW Kafue Gorge Upper hydroelectric power station. It includes a 140m-high concrete-face rock fill dam (CFRD) with a crest width between 8m and 10m and a length of approximately 378m. A surface powerhouse with a width of 44.5m, height of 58m and length of 127m, and housing five 150MW generator units.
The USD 2 billion project has been jointly funded by the Zambian government and foreign financial institutions such as the Exim Bank of China. China’s Sinohydro Corporation was awarded the contract to develop the project. Li Jie, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia said the power plant was a key project under within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the “Belt and Road” initiative.
The hydro-power station will produce 750MW and is expected to increase Zambia’s power supply by 38%.
Zambia now has 3550 MW of installed electricity generation capacity most of which is hydro based. National access to electricity averages at 31% with 67% of the urban and 4% of the rural population having access to power.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal