By NOEL IYOMBWA
THE 750 megawatts Kafue Gorge Lower hydroelectric power station will be fully functional before June next year, Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary, Danies Chisenda has said.
Mr Chisenda said the project which was expected to be commissioned early this year was delayed because of the Covid-19 outbreak as the main contractors were trapped in their home country, China where they had gone to visit.
He explained in an interview that the contractor could not travel back on time because of the lockdown which was imposed in that country and only came back in August last year.
Mr Chisenda said construction was affected because of the absence of the contractor.
He however said works were progressing well and that the erection of three units was almost complete at different levels.
Mr Chisenda said by next month the first generator unit would be commissioned and the second unit a month later.
He said before the end of this year, the third and fourth units would also be ready for commissioning.
“The contractor came back and works are progressing well,” he said.
Mr Chisenda said the fifth generator unit would be commissioned before June next year. The plant reached 72 percent completion in early 2020. The project will address the growing demand for electricity in the country and surrounding regions and will alleviate the power deficit.
According to information, the project includes the construction of a 139m-high concrete-face rockfill dam, a surface powerhouse and would house five 150MW.
The power transmission infrastructure at the hydroelectric station will include a 300V switchyard with a provision for two outgoing transmission lines to a new and existing 330 / 132kV substation.
The engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project was awarded to Sinohydro Corporation, a Chinese company, in October 2015.