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Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station project timeline and all you need to know

The Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station is constructed on the Kafue River in the Southern Chikankata district, 90km away from the Capital Lusaka, in Zambia. The 750MW hydropower station is considered the third biggest hydropower station in the country. It is Zambia’s first major investment being funded through a public-private partnership (PPP) model.

The hydroelectric project involves the construction of a 139 metres high concrete-face rockfill dam (CFRD) with a crest width between 8 metres and 10 metres and a length of approximately 378 metres. There will also be a construction of a surface powerhouse with a width of 44.5 metres, height of 58 metres and a length of 127 metres, and housing five 150MW generator units.

The Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station is expected to have an environmental release outlet channel and a spillway on the left bank which will have an overall width of 64 metres and maximum discharge capacity of 6,210m³/s. The right bank is expected to have a flood release tunnel with a maximum capacity of 1,018m³/s and a 4.4km-long power tunnel. The dam is also expected to have a floodgate with five 400 metres long penstocks. The left bank is expected to feature a 980 metres long diversion tunnel with a horse-shoe cross-section of 10mx14m.

The power transmission infrastructure at the hydroelectric power station will include a 300V switchyard which is expected to provide two outgoing transmission lines to a new and existing 330/132kV substation. The switchyard is also expected to provide one short interconnector to the existing KGU power station and five incoming feeder bays.

The Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station is expected to increase power supply in Zambia by 38%, which is enough to meet the Southern Africa’s country electricity demand for the next 5 to 10 years. Apart from increasing electricity output, the project is also expected to create employment, boost infrastructure development, and build a powerhouse and dump site for the Chikankata road project.

The US $2bn project is being funded by the government of Zambia and foreign financial institutions like the Exim Bank of China.

Also Read: Mambilla Hydropower Project timeline and all you need to know

Project timeline
2015

In October, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project was awarded to Sinohydro Corporation, a Chinese company. Construction began.

2019

Construction of the US $2bn hydroelectric power station was halted due to financial difficulties.

2020

The plant reached 72% completion/

2021

Zambian President Edgar Lungu presided over the commissioning ceremony for the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station. The president said that there has been increased demand for power in the country over the years.

“This increase demand for powers necessitated accelerated investments in power generation and transmission infrastructure. It is no secret that between 1977 and 2011, power generation investment was not directly proportional to the increase in demand,” said President Lungu.

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Dennis Ayemba
Country/ Features Editor, Kenya

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