Lusaka- The project is expected to cost about US$4 billion, according to estimates by the Zambian power utility, Zesco.
Zambia’s Mines Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma told the media that the construction expected to start in January next year would run up to 2021 or 2022 before commissioning.
He said the feasibility studies for the Batoka Power Stations were progressing well and would be concluded by July this year after which the two countries would approach financial advisors on the way forward.
The Council of Ministers of the Zambia River Authority (ZRA) during their 32nd session in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on March 20 approved the ZRA 2015 budget which includes provision for funding the Batoka Hydroelectric Scheme and the rehabilitation of Kariba Dam.
The project has been on the drawing board for some time and the move by the two countries follows demands by the Southern African Power Pool for member countries to begin implementing all pending projects to increase energy supply.
The increased demand for power in Zambia, chiefly by the mining industry, which consume an average 50 percent daily of the 2,300 megawatts, has pushed Lusaka into action hence the country’s desire to build and upgrade power stations across the country for local consumption and exports, Minister Yaluma said.
On the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam, Yaluma said about US$294.2 million was required for the project, which has since been secured through international lenders including the African Development Bank and European Investment Bank, among others.
“We have secured the funding on paper to rehabilitate Kariba Dam. Grants are almost tripling and we are also supposed to get more loans.
“We should start rehabilitating the dam in the next four to five months particularly around September. We are very much on track as this is a very key project and we will deliver on that project,” he said.
Yaluma has, meanwhile, made assurances that water rafting activities would continue even when the Batoka power schemes come into operation.
Speaking at the Council of Ministers of the Zambia River Authority meeting, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Energy and Power Development Samuel Undenge said there was need for the two countries to boost their power generation capacity.
Currently, ZRA is using a US$6 million grant from the World Bank for reviewing feasibility studies and Environmental Impact Assessment.
According to ZRA estimations, the Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station is a 1,600MW hydroelectric power station on the Zambezi River and will be located approximately 54 kilometres downstream of Victoria Falls.
According to recent feasibility studies, there will be two power plants, each with an installed capacity of 800 megawatts, one on the Zambian side and another on the Zimbabwean side.
The dam to supply the reservoir with water will be a 181 m tall arch-gravity type. The estimated construction costs are between US$2.5 to US$3 billion, although costs might soar with the cost of securing and procuring spare parts for the long waited project, the statement adds.
Source: Work on Batoka Power Stations starts next year (06/04/15)