DBSA provides $105m for Zambia hydropower expansion

5th November 2010 By: Chanel de Bruyn - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has provided the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco) with a $105- million loan facility to cofinance the expansion of its Kariba North Bank hydropower station.

The 360-MW hydropower station, being developed as an extension to the existing 720-MW Kariba North Bank power station, on the Zambezi river, will cost an overall $430-million. China’s Sinohydro started the construction of the plant in November 2008. The project is expected to be completed by December 2012.

“This signifies a major step change aimed to support the Southern African Development Community energy supplies into a single integrated market and facilitate regional integration upon which the economies of the region can thrive,” DBSA divisional executive Dr Bane Maleke said last week.

The DBSA, along with other development finance institutions, previously assisted in funding Zesco’s power rehabilitation programme, which was aimed at replacing and upgrading ageing infrastructure at the Kariba North, the Kafue Gorge and the Victoria Falls hydropower stations.

At the existing Kariba North Bank hydropower station, the installed capacity of three out of four turbines has been upgraded to 180 MW, up from the previous 150 MW.

The fourth turbine, which will also be upgraded to 180 MW, is expected to be on line by March next year.

Zambia’s hydroelectric potential stands at more than 6 000 MW, of which less than 2 000 MW has yet been exploited.

Besides the Kariba North extension project, Zesco is also working on implementing the $275-million 120-MW Itezhi Tezhi hydropower station, which is expected to be completed by 2013.