By Nawa Mutumweno – The projected power output at the Kafue Gorge Lower hydropower project has been raised from the initial 600 to 800 megawatts.
According to Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) managing director Ernest Mupwaya, the Chinese developers for the estimated $2 billion power project had already completed an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the geotechnical studies for the project which is expected to come on stream by 2017.
“Preliminary studies by the Chinese developers show that the power station will be producing around 800 MW contrary to earlier studies by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which put the plant capacity at 600 MW,” Mupwaya disclosed in Lusaka recently.
The construction of the power plant was expected to commence at the beginning of the second quarter of 2011.
“Our counterparts are working on the final design for the power station so that we can move into implementation somewhere at the end of April 2011,” he elaborated.
The power utility has planned enough generation facilities to meet the country’s projected economic growth targets of about six percent in the next three years.
The ongoing rehabilitation works at Kariba North Bank power station and the expansion programme of the plant, which suffered a setback early in 2010 after it was gutted, are also expected to up power output in the country.
Greenfield projects such as Kafue Gorge Lower and Itezhi Tezhi power stations, and smaller ones being developed of the national grid, were also expected to boost the country’s generation capacity.
Zambia would in the early part of 2012 face a power deficit as increasing economic activities outstrip supply with the situation expected to be reversed by the close of that year.
“The future is bright as there will be excess capacity in the foreseeable future once we bring Itezhi Tezhi and Kafue Gorge Lower on board,” he added.