The Zambian government has recently announced that Batoka Gorge Hydro-Power Plant project located 54 km southwards from Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River in the country’s border region with Zimbabwe, will count with a capacity expansion to 2,400 MW from the 1,600 MW initially planned.
A recent study concluded by the Zambezi River Authority (ZARAHO) showed that the Batoka Gorge power plant would be able to produce more electricity than the 1,600 MW announced last year by Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu.
The announce was done by ZARAHO’s CEO, Mr. Munyaradzi Munodawafa, whom in an interview with Reuters explained that this is an important improvement aiming at raising the country’s capacity installed and easing the current and prevent future electricity shortages.
According to the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), construction works are expected to start by 2019 and will last for approximately six years representing a total investment of approximately USD 4 billion.
Works includes the construction of a 181 m high Roller Compacted Concrete gravity arch dam and two underground power stations on each side of the river with six 200 MW Francis turbines.
The project is also expected to support Zambia’s goal of becoming a net exporter of power in the Sub Saharan region after meeting local needs according to Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), an independent organization that promotes regional economic integration through trade and investment.
This is why Zambia is also working with the private sector to expand capacity of the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro Station, located close to the confluence of the Kafue and Zambezi rivers, from the current 450 MW installed to 750 MW by 2018.
According to COMESA, Zambia counts with natural water reserves able to produce a potential hydro power capacity of about 6,000 MW, however so far only 1,948 MW has been installed across the country representing 92% of the total installed capacity and 99% of the total electricity generated in the country.