Construction is set to commence on US $5.2bn Batoka Gorge hydro-electricity project expected to generate 2,200MW of power capacity, following a meeting held between Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa and officials from the main contractors, General Electric and Power China.
President Mnangagwa pointed out that the project is being implemented under the auspices of the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), a bi-national organisation mandated to operate, monitor and maintain the Kariba Dam Complex as well as exploit the full potential of the Zambezi River.
He added that added that a presentation would be done by the consortium in Zimbabwe within the week and upon completion, the construction would begin. The generated power would be shared equally between Zimbabwe and Zambia, who endorsed the deal.
Matthew Nkhuw, Minister of Energy, had earlier reported that a feasibility study is being carried out and the project is estimated to take 10 years to be fully complete The scheme will be undertaken on a build, operate and transfer basis upstream of the Kariba Dam hydroelectric scheme. The scheme will have two underground power stations on each side of the Zambezi river equipped with four Francis turbines of 200MW installed in each turbine producing a total of 1600MW for the scheme.
A 181-m-high roller-compacted concrete gravity arch dam with a radial gated crest type spillway will also be constructed. The project is expected to create 6000 jobs. Against a demand of 1900 MW, the Zimbabwe is producing 1300MW of electricity while South Africa and Mozambique covers the deficit.