Zambia upgrades power plants
Zambia wants to upgrade its energy infrastructure to ensure it meets increasing demand for electricity, chiefly by mines. The government is understood to be courting investors to come in under public-private partnerships.
The state is targeting economic growth of eight percent per annum and realizes this will not be achieved with the current power supply situation.
Against this backdrop, President Michael Sata’s government has directed state power company, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) to increase capacity at Kariba North Bank, near the border with Zimbabwe, among other plants.
Energy Minister Chris Yaluma on November 21 directed ZESCO to ensure that Sino-Hydro Power Company, a Chinese firm contracted for the Kariba North Bank Extension Project, speeds up its work.
Sino-Hydro Power Company was also engaged to upgrade Kafue Gorge Lower Power Station.
During a recent tour of Kariba North Bank and Kafue Gorge power stations, the minister said the country’s industrial base could not grow without improved electricity generation.
ZESCO MD Cyprian Chitundu said he was confident that the power utility would deliver what was expected of it by citizens and companies.
According to Chitundu, Kariba North Bank - which can churn 540 megawatts - would be boosted to 720MW when the upgrade was complete.
Kariba North Bank Extension Project director Wesley Lwiindi said a new US$420 million substation was under construction in Siavonga.
The target is to commission it next year.
Kafue Gorge Power Station manager Fidelis Mubiana added that upgrading work mainly focused on refurbishment, replacement of existing generators and transmission infrastructure.
ZESCO has also bought machinery worth about US$3m to clear weeds such as water hyacinth from the Kafue River.
Mines consume 40 percent of the 1 400MW that Zambia generates.
National consumption rises to 1 800MW at peak periods, meaning the country often runs on a deficit.
Source: Southern Times