Construction of US $8.6m mini hydro power station in Zambia has been completed. The Rural Electrification Authority  said it is the first-ever power station to be developed in Mwinilunga.

“We are delighted to complete the construction of the Kasanjiku project because it is going to improve the quality of life and also highlight the massive potential that lies in the Northern Region of Zambia for electricity generation using mini hydro technology,” said REA Manager Corporate Affairs Justin Mukosa.

Construction of the power station dubbed the ‘Kasanjiku project’ began in 2016. It is located on the Kasanjiku River in Mwinilunga District in North Western Province and is set to improve the quality of life for beneficiaries in Chief Ntambu and Chief Sailunga’s area. Over 12,000 people are set to benefit. The 0.64MW project will electrify 11 schools, one Mission hospital, four Rural Health Centres, one Local Court and one Chief’s Palace.

“The power station once energised will be able to supply power to the community throughout the year as the turbines will be supplied with water from the Kasanjiku River which experiences good water supply,” said Engineer Mubanga.

Zambia’s electricity sector is largely dependent on hydropower. As a result of erratic rains, declining water levels in Kariba Dam and increased electricity demand, the country has experienced a severe electricity supply deficit since approximately June 2015. Output for the sector is estimated at less than one third of installed capacity. Load shedding has led to increased costs of living.

Approximately 70% of the country’s electricity demand is driven by its mining sector, which benefits from highly subsidised electricity rates. Peak demand has been recorded at 1,960 MW. Growth in electricity demand has been estimated at between 150 MW and 200 MW per year.