25 firms bid for Zambia’s Batoka power project

Zambia's Batoka power project10 April 2013, Lusaka – Twenty-five companies have indicated interest to develop the 1,600 megawatts Batoka Gorge hydro-power project in Zambia’s Southern Province.

The project, expected to cost over US$5 billion, is being prosecuted by the Zambian and Zimbabwean governments to help increase power generation capacity in the two countries.

The two countries will jointly finance the project, with additional funding coming from donors. The project is expected to be completed by 2017.

Zesco managing director, Cyprian Chitundu said many companies, both local and foreign, had expressed interest in developing the project.

According to him, the companies include two Chinese firms – China Water and Electricity Company and Syno hydro; two unnamed Zambian companies, two Brazilian firms and some European firms.

Chitundu said the company which would be awarded the contract would build the power plant and run it for a period which would be agreed upon by Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“The contract is to build the power project and operate it for a number of years to be agreed upon before handing it over to the two governments,” Mr Chitundu said.

The two governments have ordered a fresh environmental impact assessment study before the actual construction begins.

He said Zesco is currently in discussions with the World Bank to see if it could finance the renewal of the feasibility study.

Mr Chitundu said the feasibility study could be done by the end of the year after which the utility company would start dealing with the contractor.

“So the two governments are set to finalise initial plans to boost electricity generation capacity.

“This is in a bid to meet the growing energy needs for the local consumer base and foreign contractual obligations of the two countries,” he said.
With an output capacity of 1,800 megawatts daily, Zambia has been struggling to meet local energy needs and foreign contractual obligations.

Zimbabwe equally falls short of meeting consumer demand because of ageing facilities.

About the Author