Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu announced that Zimbabwe and his country have partnered to explore the possibility of developing a 1,800 Megawatt (MW) power station at Batoka Gorge in Southern Province with an estimated investment of US$4 b, reported AllAfrica.com.
The Zambian government is also upgrading the Lusiwasi hydropower project in Serenje in order to increase its generation capacity from 12 to 101 megawatts, with other plans to construct a 150MW hydropower station at Kalungwishi.
“The installation of two generators at the Kariba north bank in 2013 and 2014 was a strategic investment which increased power generation by an extra 360MW”, said the President, adding that “Other long-term measures include increasing power generation at Chishimba and Musonda falls from the current six to 14.8MW and from five to 10MW respectively”.
“The re-instating of the Victoria Falls power station to its full generating the capacity of 180MW and the up-rating of the Kariba north bank power station from 600MW to 720MW are part of the robust Government interventions to increase Zambia’s installed hydropower capacity,” he also said.
According to Reuters Zambia has been hit by a spate of power blackouts in its worst electricity crisis yet.
One cause is an over-reliance on hydropower, the other is the fall in copper prices, the country’s top export.
“Organisations like the World Bank have been advising for a long time that there would be a potential power deficit and it was important to start investing in this area,” said Chrispin Mphuka, President of the Economic Association of Zambia.
“From two or three decades ago, this has been on the agenda but there has been lack of political will”, he added.
Dams provide more than 90% of Zambia’s electricity and the country is Africa’s biggest copper producer after the Democratic Republic of Congo.