03 October 2015, Lusaka – THE construction of the US$2 billion Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station is expected to commence before the end of the year. Project director Kelvin Kamwale confirmed the development in an interview in Chirundu on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Kamwale told journalists that the contractor was expected to move on site in two months’ time. Zambia is seeking to increase power generation output to meet increased demand for energy.
Various pieces of energy infrastructure have been lined up for construction including facelift to increase power generation capacity under US$5 billion budget plan earmarked until 2020.
Once completed by 2018, the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower station will be producing 750 megawatts of power in addition to other power plants on cards.
Mr Kamwale said that the bidding process came to an end in July, this year and the evaluations were done while a notice of award was given.
He said the utility company was currently negotiating with the bidder on contract agreement and once that was agreed, the contractor would be expected to move on site.
“So we are currently finalising the contract agreements with the selected bidder to agree on the package.We expect to announce the preferred bidder once the contract is cleared,” Mr Kamwale said.
ZESCO limited has spent K8 million on the resettlement of 25 families who were living in the project area.
Zesco acting managing director Victor Mundende said out of 25 families, 13 opted to be repatriated to Hachipilika Village, with an option of being built houses as compensation, while 12 opted for monetary compensation of K50,000.
Mr Mundende said this during the handover of houses and school dormitory at Hachipilika Village. Ministry of Mines Energy and Water Development deputy minister Richard Musukwa commended Zesco for compensating the 25 families.
Mr Musukwa urged Zesco to expedite construction works on the Kafue Gorge Lower hydropower station considering the power crisis the country was faced with.
*Judith Namutowe – Times of Zambia