Energy Minister, Mathew Nkhuwa has warned Zambians not to expect any significant change in load shedding once the 150 megawatts has been brought on the national electricity grid from the newly constructed Kafue Gorge Lower hydroelectric power station on the Kafue River.
Confirming the news that the reservoir of the Kafue Lower Gorge Hydro Power plant, in which water was being pumped for a period of seven days, is now full, Mr Nkhuwa said said that the impact will only be felt when the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro Power plant begins to produce 300 megawatts in December this year.
Mr. Nkhuwa further said that the reservoir could have been filled in just three days but it took seven days on purpose, to avoid damaging the walls.
Mr. Nkhuwa said that now that it is full, the first machine will be tested to produce 150 megawatts as scheduled by the month-end of November 2020.
The Government initiated the construction of the 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower hydroelectric power station on the Kafue River in Chikankata district, 90km away from the Lusaka, in November 2015.
Considered the third biggest hydropower station in Zambia on its completion, Kafue Gorge is Zambia’s first major investment being funded through a public-private partnership (PPP) model, with the aim of addressing the growing demand for electricity in Zambia and surrounding regions and alleviate the power deficit, support continued economic progress.
The new power plant on the Kafue River, a primary tributary of the Zambezi river on the left bank, is located 55km upstream of the confluence of the two rivers and 17.3km downstream of the existing Kafue Gorge Upper hydropower station dam site along the river. It is 5.9km away from the Kafue Gorge Upper hydropower water outlet.
The total cost of the project was estimated at $2bn, which includes engineering, procurement and construction costs of $1.58bn, financing costs of $43m, the insurance cost of $100m and capitalized interest of $312m.
The project has been financed by the Zambian Government and foreign financial institutions, including the Exim Bank of China. The government allocated an initial investment of $186m for the project.