President Edgar Lungu has commissioned the 750-megawatts Kafue Gorge Lower (KGL) Hydropower station. Today, one Turbine has come on stream with an additional 150 mega watts of power added onto the national grid.
This is not a small development – we’re talking an additional 50, 000 households in Zambia having to access electricity and an improved and uninterrupted supply to consumers.
As a result of this commissioning, Zesco has also reinforced its position as one of the giants of electricity production and power trading in the region as the country will now be able to comfortably export electricity to its eight neighbours without inconveniencing Zambian consumers. The ultimate result – more foreign currency which will further stabilize the exchange rate.
The Kafue Gorge Lower, whose construction could not start in the era of the MMD despite the country battling painful electricity shortage, is the first-ever mega power station constructed in Zambia in almost 50 years and is 17 kilometres downstream the 990-megawatts Kafue Gorge Upper which was commissioned in 1973.
In the history of Zambia, President Lungu becomes the first Head of State since late Dr Kenneth Kaunda to deliver a mega-hydro power project as the 750-megawatt KGL is now officially the third biggest hydropower station in the country and first major investment funded through a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
With days of load shedding which disrupted daily lives of ordinary Zambians and forced micro-businesses like salons, barbershops, corner butcheries and roadside metal fabrications activities to shut, the ‘new baby’ KGL should help to strengthen Zesco’s system stability.
Despite the growing number of empowered Zambians building houses in different parts of the country, electrifying the homesteads had, until recently, been a huge obstacle due to limited power generation facility.
The arrival of clean and cheap power from KGL means Zambian households and the industry would be spared the expensive power from private producers and foreign sources.
The KGL which increases Zambia’s installed power generation capacity to 3.35 gigawatts from the current 2.8 gigawattts, is being viewed by many as a game changer in Zambia’s quest to become a hub of power trading in the region and bring in the much-needed foreign currency.