The preliminary construction works on the 2 400MW Batoka Gorge hydroelectric dam developed by the government of Zambia in collaboration with that of Zimbabwe has begun in preparation for the full implementation of the mega electricity generation scheme. This was revealed by Dr. Gloria Magombo, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of energy and Power Development in Zimbabwe who also co-chairs the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) board with her Zambian counterpart, Mr. Trevor Kaunda.
Speaking during the virtual launch of the ZRAs 2020-2024 strategy, Dr. Magombo said that the work is being carried out by a consortium made up of Power China International Group Ltd and General Electric. Power China is a Chinese based enterprise engaged in renewable energy and the development of hydropower resources while General Electric is an American multinational conglomerate that operates in aviation, healthcare, power, renewable energy, digital industry, additive manufacturing, and venture capital and finance sectors. The consortium won the contract in July last year.
Batoka Gorge hydropower facility design overview
The Batoka Gorge hydroelectric facility will comprise a roller compacted concrete (RCC) gravity arch dam measuring 720m-long and 181m-tall, and two 1,200MW surface powerhouses on both sides of the Zambezi River, each powerhouse with six 200MW hydroelectric turbines.
The catchment area of the reservoir will be 508,000km², while four intakes will be built to send water to both the power plants through 4km-long tunnels.
A crest type spillway with 12 radial gates will be constructed to ensure the controlled release of flow from the reservoir. Measuring 13m-tall and 14m-wide, the spillway’s design discharge capacity will be 20,000m³/s.
Upon completion, the cross-border hydroelectric project is expected to generate 10,215GWh of electricity a year, which will be shared between Zambia and Zimbabwe through four proposed overhead transmission lines.