Lusaka - Zambia’s 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower (KGL) Power Plant comes on-stream next month in what will be a major boost for the country’s electricity supply situation.
Zambia has been grappling with an electricity deficit of about 800MW and the US$2,2 billion KGL Plant will ease the situation by adding 150MW per stage in four phases from September 2020 to January 2021.
The plant has been built with a loan facilitated by Kenya’s Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation and China’s Eximbank. Zambia’s power utility Zesco was the project lead.
Zesa senior corporate affairs manager Mr John Kunda said the utility’s aim was to be a major player in the regional energy matrix by 2025 via its partnerships with EPCs such as China Sino Hydro, with whom it is developing other electricity plants.
Zesco has been instituting power cuts of up to 18 hours a day as it tries to balance supply ahead of the commissioning of new generation units. Around 55 percent of Zambia’s electricity goes to the country’s mines.
On KGL Mr Kunda this week told The Southern Times that, “We are looking at the end of October to commission the first (150MW) machine and this will run concurrently until January when we expect to switch on the fourth machine.
“We had planned to commission the project by May but the new coronavirus delayed the return of the Chinese contractors that were stuck in Wuhen earlier. Webhave now mobilised experts both local and from our Chinese counterparts to ensure that we are on schedule.”
The KGL hydroelectric power station lies on the banks of the Kafue River in the Southern Chikankata district, 90km from the capital Lusaka.
It is Zambia’s first major energy investment funded through a public-private partnership model.
The plant is located 17,3km downstream of the existing Kafue Gorge Upper (KGU) hydropower station.
The project includes construction of a 139m high concrete face rockfill dam with a crest width between 8m and 10m and a length of approximately 378m.
The power transmission infrastructure at the hydroelectric station will include a 300V switchyard with a provision for two outgoing transmission lines to a new and existing 330 / 132kV substation.
The switchyard will also have a provision for one short interconnector to the existing KGU power station and five incoming feeder bays.
Zambia currently has an installed capacity of 2,800MW with 2,380MW coming from hydropower.
Just 31 percent of the country’s population has access to electricity, while four percent of rural areas are electrified.