Zambia commissions Kafue Gorge Lower Power Station

The plant has added 750MW to the country’s national grid.

By Chriselle Moraes on
13th May 2023

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema switched on the fifth generator of the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station on 24 March 2023, completing the commissioning of the project which has added 750MW of capacity to the national grid.

The US$2 billion plant in the Kafue River basin in Lusaka, Zambia, was developed in phases by Kafue Gorge Lower Power Development Corporation, a special purpose vehicle wholly-owned by Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO), a state-owned utility.

China's Sinohydro Corporation provided the engineering, procurement and construction services. 

The construction included a 139-metre-high concrete-face rockfill dam with a crest width between 8 and 10 metres and approximately 378 metres long. The powerhouse is 58 metres high and 127 metres long and houses five 150MW generator units. 

The facility has a hydro reservoir capacity of about 80 million cubic metres and the gross head is 200 metres. The project will generate 2,575 gigawatt hours of electricity. The first unit began operating in 2021. Some of the power output will be exported to neighbouring countries.

The project was financed as a public-private partnership with a 85:15 debt-to-equity ratio. China Eximbank and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China covered the debt portion.

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