China’s Sinohydro to begin work on Zambia hydro plant

ZAMBIA’S power utility, ZESCo expects Sinohydro of China to commence work on the Kafue Gorge Lower hydroelectric power station this month. The project, which is expected to have a capacity of 750MW was awarded to Sinohydro in October. The construction is expected to span a period of two years at a total cost of $2bn. The government of Zambia also released $186 million in October as a part of the government’s 15 percent equity contribution.

The project will be financed in conjunction with other foreign financial institutions. The Exim Bank of China is expected to be one of major financiers of the project as is the case with other projects on the continent executed by China state owned companies. The project will have a build, operate and transfer (BOT) structure. The power generated will be connected to the national grid via a 100km, 330kV transmission line and also add to the capacity of the Southern African Power Pool. The project is crucial to the mining sector, which had its share of power supply reduced by 30 percent in August by ZESCo as the country grappled with a drop in power from its two dams, after low rainfall.

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