Construction is set to commence on US $5.2bn Batoka Gorge hydro electricity project expected to generate 2,200MW of power capacity, following a meeting held between Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa and officials from the main contractors, General Electric and Power China.
President Mnangagwa pointed out that the project is being implemented under the auspices of the Zambezi River Authority(ZRA), a bi-national organisation mandated to operate, monitor and maintain the Kariba Dam Complex as well as exploit the full potential of the Zambezi River.
He added that added that a presentation would be done by the consortium in Zimbabwe within the week and upon completion, the construction would begin.The generated power would be shared equally between Zimbabwe and Zambia, who endorsed the deal.
“I wrote to President Edgar Lungu proposing that a consortium of Power China and General Electric be contracted to work on the project which has been outstanding since 1972 when it was first proposed. President Lungu graciously agreed. The consortium is set to make a presentation to us here in Zimbabwe so the project can begin,” said President Mnangagwa.
Matthew Nkhuw, Minister of Energy, had earlier reported that a feasibility study is being carried out and the project is estimated to take 10 years to be fully complete
Kariba Dam hydroelectric scheme
Project specifications by the ZRA show the scheme will be undertaken on a build, operate and transfer basis upstream of the Kariba Dam hydroelectric scheme. The scheme will have two underground power stations on each side of the Zambezi river that will have four Francis turbines of 200MW installed in each turbine producing a total of 1600MW for the scheme.
A 181m high roller compacted concrete gravity arch dam with a radial gated crest type spillway will also be constructed. The scheme will be take on a build, operate and transfer system on the upstream of Kariba dam.
The project is expected to create 6000 jobs. Against a demand of 1900 MW, the Zimbabwe is producing 1300MW of electricity while South Africa and Mozambique covers the deficit.