Zambia pins hope on China-funded power plant to tackle electricity deficit

LUSAKA, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government said Wednesday that everything was being done to ensure that the last generator at the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro Power Station will be commissioned at the end of next month so that the station becomes fully operational.

The full operation of the power station, which is located on the Kafue River, a primary tributary of the Zambezi River, is expected to help tackle the country's current electricity deficit, said Chushi Kasanda, the chief government spokesperson.

Four generators of the 750 MW power plant, constructed by China's hydropower engineering and construction company Sinohydro and funded by the Export-Import Bank of China, have so far been commissioned.

The spokesperson also said the government was happy that a 150 MW generation unit at the coal-powered plant owned by Maamba Collieries Limited as well as a 10 MW unit at Victoria Falls Power Station have been restored.

The government was seriously addressing issues of renewable energy sources as a priority to resolving electricity challenges, she added.

Zambia is experiencing a power deficit caused by low water levels at one of its main power plants, the Kariba North Bank Power Station, resulting in state-run power utility, Zesco Limited, initiating a rotational load-shedding exercise.

The government last week said that the country has started experiencing an improvement in the generation following increased water inflows in the reservoirs due to heavy rains experienced in the recent past.

Energy Minister Peter Kapala said following an improvement in water inflows, total electricity generation has increased by 305 MW, bringing the total national generation to 2,215 MW.

This has resulted in a reduced power deficit from 470 MW to 165 MW.

The country's current electricity demand stands at 2,380 MW.

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