Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric power project in Zambia to begin this year

Construction of Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station in Zambia is set to begin by end of this year after a selection of winning contractor in six months’ time.

Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Engineer Gloria Magombo announced the reports and said that once negotiations with the contractor are completed, construction will begin in earnest.

“We have been meeting as the Zambezi River Authority, looking at the progress on the implementation of the project and as we all know, any project has developmental stages. Construction will only begin after the selection of the project developer by September this year,” said Engineer Magombo.

Contractor’s responsibility

Three shortlisted contractors; Salini Impregilo of Italy; a joint venture of China Three Gorges Corporation, China International and Water Electric Corporation and China Gezhouba Group Company Limited, and another consortium of US-based General Electric (GE) and Power Construction Corporation of China were requested for proposals which requires companies to place bids for a project’s completion. Nine contractors had initially expressed interest in the project.

The shortlisted contractors will be responsible for the relevant preparatory study reports which include the Engineering Feasibility Study; the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA); and Legal and Financial Transaction Advisory Services (LFTA)

“The first stage is project preparation, where you do the feasibility studies, engineering studies and the environmental impact assessments, and that is the stage that we have been working on,” said Magombo.

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Batoka Gorge hydro electricity project

The Batoka Gorge hydro electricity project is expected to generate 2 400MW of electricity to be shared equally between the Zambia and Zimbabwe. The project is being implemented under the auspices of the Zambezi River Authority(ZRA), a bi-national organisation mandated to operate, monitor and maintain the Kariba Dam Complex as well as exploit the full potential of the Zambezi River.

The scheme will be undertaken on a build, operate and transfer basis upstream of the Kariba Dam hydroelectric scheme. The scheme will have two underground power stations on each side of the Zambezi river that will have four Francis turbines of 200MW installed in each turbine producing a total of 1600MW for the scheme.

A 181m high roller compacted concrete gravity arch dam with a radial gated crest type spillway will also be constructed. The scheme will be take on a build, operate and transfer system on the upstream of Kariba dam. The project is expected to create 6000 jobs.