HomeBiggest projectsKafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station, the third largest of its kind in...

Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station, the third largest of its kind in Zambia

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Unit 5 or rather the last generator unit at the Kafue Gorge Lower power station is expected to be commissioned in November this year. This is according to Victor Mapani, the managing director at Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited.

Mr. Mapani made the revelation during ZESCO’s announcement that the country had achieved an electricity generation surplus of about 1,156 MW. According to the state-run corporation, the commissioning of the four by 150 megawatts capacity generator units at the Kafue Gorge Lower Power Station has resulted in increased power generation. ZESCO further explained that the national generation capacity currently stands at 3, 456.8 megawatts against a peak national demand of about 2,300 MW.

Possibility of trading the surplus 
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Speaking during a high-level panel discussion at the ongoing Association of Power utility meeting in Dakar, Senegal, Mapani said the country could trade the electricity surplus within the interconnected power network in the southern African region.

Also Read: Plans in for Construction of First Quantum Copper Mines Solar-Wind Power Plants in Zambia

According to the ZESCO managing director, the availability of reliable electricity was underpinning the current rebound of the country’s economy. He further revealed that the power utility was undertaking the construction of transmission lines to ensure that it remains at the center of power trading in the region.

Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station project overview

The Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station is constructed on the Kafue River. The latter is in the Southern Chikankata district, approximately 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 funded through a public-private partnership (PPP) model.

The hydroelectric project involves the construction of a 139 meters high concrete-face rockfill dam (CFRD). The dam has a crest width between 8 meters and 10 meters and a length of approximately 378 meters. There will also be a construction of a surface powerhouse. The latter has a width of 44.5 meters, a height of 58 meters, and a length of 127 meters. It will accommodate 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. It will have an overall width of 64 meters and a 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. Furthermore, the dam is expected to have a floodgate with five 400 meters long penstocks. The left bank is also expected to feature a 980 meters long diversion tunnel with a horse-shoe cross-section of 10mx14m.

The transmission infrastructure, expectations, and funding for the project 

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

Upon completion, the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station is expected to increase the power supply in Zambia by 38%. The energy generated by the facility is reportedly enough to meet 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, and boost infrastructure development. Furthermore, it will 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. Sinohydro Corporation, a Chinese company won the contract following which construction began.

Jan 2018

Pöyry awarded environmental impact assessment assignment for Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Project in Zambia, Africa

Zesco has awarded Pöyry with an Environmental Impact Assessment assignment for the Kafue Gorge Lower (KGL) Hydropower Project (HPP) in Zambia.

The 750 MW Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Project is part of the long-term solution to address the increasing gap between energy demand and supply in Zambia. The project is closely linked to the electricity development plans for the promotion of renewable energy in Zambia. The project is located in southern Zambia on the Kafue River, a primary tributary of the Zambezi River and about 60 km south of the capital Lusaka.

The scope of the assignment covers the undertaking of an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study of the downstream areas of the KGL HPP site; incorporating the findings of the downstream study into the KGL HPP EISA as an addendum, and updating the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) for KGL HPP, and review and update the associated Transmission Lines ESIA and Resettlement and Compensation Action Plan (RCAP) to a bankable level.

“Delivering clean, renewable energy projects like this can aid economic growth and social progress and help alleviate poverty in developing countries. This project further strengthens Pöyry’s position as one of the world’s leading hydropower engineering consultancies” says Richard Pinnock, President of Pöyry’s Energy Business Group.

Also read: Pöyry Global maps out a small-scale hydro water project in West Africa

The value of the order is not disclosed. The order was recognized within the Energy Business Group order stock in H2 2017.

About Poyry

Pöyry is an international consulting and engineering company that delivers smart solutions across power generation, transmission & distribution, forest industry, chemicals & biorefining, mining & metals, transportation, and water. Pöyry’s net sales in 2016 were EUR 530 million. The company’s shares are quoted on Nasdaq Helsinki (POY1V). Approximately, Poyry has 5500 experts. 40 countries. 130 offices.

2019

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

Jan 2019

US $2bn Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower station nears completion

Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric power project in Zambia to begin this year

Construction of the US $2bn Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro-power Station in southern Zambia is soon to be complete. This is according to the Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa.

The billion-dollar project started in 2015. It is funded by the Zambian government and foreign financial institutions such as the Exim Bank of China, and is being constructed by China’s Sinohydro Corporation.

Also read:Zambia, Zimbabwe signs US $5bn deal for Batoka Gorge hydro electricity project

Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station

The Energy Minister expressed satisfaction with the quality of the work being done by the contractors. He said that 60% of the work is complete and Chinese contractors’ delivery time is competitive.

Mr. Nkhuwa also expressed satisfaction with the state-of-the-art technology applied to the construction, adding that the completion of the power plant will go a long way in helping the country become an electricity hub in the southern African region.

Upon completion set to take place in 2020, it is estimated that the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro-power Station will produce 750MW and is expected to increase Zambia’s power supply by 38%, which is sufficient to meet the country’s electricity demand for the next 5 to 10 years.

Apart from increasing electricity output for the country, the project also has many other benefits, including creating employment, setting up infrastructure, and a powerhouse and dump site for Chikankata road project.

Zambia, like many other African countries, has been facing severe power shortages, where only 25% of its urban population and 3% of its rural population have access to electricity. Even though endowed with abundant water resources, poor infrastructure has hindered the landlocked country from turning its natural advantage into a stable energy source.

Sep 2019

Construction of 750MW hydropower station at Kafue Gorge Zambia suspended

hydro power zambia

Construction of the 750MW hydropower station at Kafue Gorge in Zambia has been suspended. Sino Hydro Corporation suspended the project after the Zambian government failed to pay the company for the construction work.

Power shortage in Zambia

Zambia, like many other African countries, has been facing severe power shortages, where only 25% of its urban population and 3% of its rural population have access to electricity. Even though endowed with abundant water resources, poor infrastructure has hindered the landlocked country from turning its natural advantage into a stable energy source.

When complete, the project will address the growing demand for electricity in the country and surrounding regions and will alleviate the power deficit, thus supporting continued economic progress.

2020

The plant reached 72% completion.

2021

First unit of the US $2bn Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station in Zambia commissioned

The first unit of the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station in Zambia has been commissioned. Zambian President Edgar Lungu presided over the ceremony and said the power plant is set to increase electricity output for the country.

“Our country has, over the years, seen increased demand for electricity to power activities. Demand has been recorded in sectors such as education, mining, health services, agriculture, tourism, industries, and indeed our homes. This increased 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.

Also Read:US $500m to be invested in Ngonye Falls hydropower project in Zambia

Project benefits

The US $2bn project, funded by the Zambian government and foreign financial institutions such as the Exim Bank of China, began in 2015. China’s Sinohydro Corporation was awarded the contract to develop the project. Li Jie, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia said the power plant was a key project under within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the “Belt and Road” initiative.

The hydropower station will produce 750MW and is expected to increase Zambia’s power supply by 38%, which is sufficient to meet the country’s electricity demand for the next 5 to 10 years. Apart from increasing electricity output for the country, the project also has other benefits, including creating employment, setting up infrastructure, and a powerhouse and dump site for the Chikankata road project.

Zambia, like many other African countries, has been facing severe power shortages, where only 25% of its urban population and 3% of its rural population have access to electricity. Even though endowed with abundant water resources, poor infrastructure has hindered the landlocked country from turning its natural advantage into a stable energy source.

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