WESTERN Power company plans to spend US $500 million on the Ngonye Falls hydropower generation project in Western Province.
Western Power company managing director Tom Younger said the hydroelectricity project was expected to get operational in 2023.
During a media briefing on the multi-million dollar Ngonye Falls Hydropower project, Younger said once the project was completed, it would remain a Zambian project that would help reduce household tariffs.
He said the project was poised to generate on average 830 gigawatts per year of clean, renewable energy to meet local demand and exports.
The Ngonye Falls Hydropower Project is a 180-megawatts hydropower that would be built on Zambezi River near Sioma in Western Province.
“The overall objective is to generate clean, dependable and affordable power to deliver to the Zambian national electricity grid,” he said. “A gross electricity generation will be approximately 830 gigawatt hours per annum which, using an average household consumption of 4,600 kilowatt hours per annum is sufficient to supply approximately 180,000 households.”
Younger noted that overall demand for electricity in Zambia was increasing at five per cent per year and that it was expected to reach about 3,500 MW by 2020.
Younger added that government was prioritising power generation to meet targets set in the national development plan.
He said the Western Power project which would be funded by various institutions would add value to Zesco operations in the country.
“Development of the energy sector is critical to the socio-economic growth of Zambia and thus a key element for future planning,” Younger said. “The government is prioritising power generation as part of the National Development Plan for 2017- 2021 with a primary objective to expand and improve electricity generation, transmission, and distribution and promote investment in power generation.”
Younger said during the construction, the project would create more than 3,000 jobs for the local people.
He further said the identified locals who could be affected in Sioma and the surrounding areas as a result of the project, would be relocated and compensated to acceptable standards.
“The construction work will be the largest private investment in the Western Zambia. Construction activities will be the responsibility of the EPC contractor and the phase is planned to last three years. Construction of the project components will be undertaken simultaneously,” said Younger.
Western Power company chairman Sipho Phiri said the project would operate as a ‘run-of-river’ hydroelectric scheme to generate power.
He said the generated power would then be supplied to Zesco to meet the shortfall as per power purchase agreement.
Phiri said the company would strive to lower the power tariffs.