A Chinese bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) will lend state-owned power utility Zesco $430-million to raise the capacity of a hydropower station by 360 MW, a minister said on Thursday.
Zambia, Africa’s top copper producer, will need to raise its power generation capacity to ensure sufficient supply as demand is expected to rise on the back of new investments in mining and other sectors.
Energy Minister Kenneth Konga said funds from the Export and Import bank of China (EXIM) and DBSA would pay for the extension of the Kariba North Bank power station, located more than 130 km south of Lusaka, which is to be completed by 2012.
The hydro plant produces 540 MW, but that will rise to 720 MW by October this year when the last of existing four generators is upgraded, Konga said.
The EXIM Bank of China would lend Zesco $315-million and DBSA would provide the remaining $115-million for the project whose contractor is Sino-Hydro of China, Konga said.
“The project involves putting up two new machines with a power generation capacity of 180 MW each and we expect that work will be completed by November 2012,” Konga said.
Zambia currently generates 1 800 MW, with peak demand estimated at 1 600 MW, but forecasts demand to rise sharply in the coming years, government data shows.