A Chinese bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) will lend state-owned power utility Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) $430 million to raise the capacity of a hydropower station by 360MW, according to Zambia’s energy minister.
Zambia, Africa’s top copper producer, will need to raise the power generation capacity to ensure sufficient supply as demand is expected to rise on the back of new investments in mining and other sectors.
Energy minister Kenneth Konga said funds from the Export and Import Bank of China (EXIM) and DBSA would pay for the extension of the Kariba North Bank power station, located more than 130 km south of Lusaka, which is to be completed by 2012.
The hydro plant produces 540 MW that will rise to 720 MW by October this year when the last of the existing four generators is upgraded, Konga pointed out.
The Exim Bank of China would lend ZESCO $315 million while DBSA would provide the remaining $115 million for the project whose contractor is Sino-Hydro of China.
“The project involves putting up new machines with a power generation of 180 MW each and we expect that work will be completed by Novemebr 2012,” Konga said.
Zambia currently generates 1 800 MW with peak demand estimated at 1 600 MW but forecasts demand to rise sharply in the coming years, Government date indicates.