On July 23, the government of Zambia celebrated commissioning of the first unit at the 750-MW Kafue Gorge Lower hydropower station.

Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, gave an address on the occasion, which was attended by many dignitaries, including representatives of project owner Zambia Electricity Supply Corp. (ZESCO) and contractor Sinohydro Corporation.

During his address, Lungu discussed the need to invest in infrastructure in the country and implement projects that will lead to more inclusive economic growth. “It is no secret that my government continues to invest in roads, clinics and hospitals, airports and power infrastructure such as the one we are witnessing today,” he said. “We … firmly believe that infrastructure development is critical to opening up development for the entire country. The economic gains that will accrue from these investments will no doubt benefit our country and outlive not just the current hurdles but will benefit all of us who are present here.”

Lungu said Zambia has seen increased demand for electricity to power mining, agriculture, tourism, industries, education, healthcare services and homes. He acknowledged that investment in power generation from 1977 to 2011 did not grow proportionately with increased demand.

“Today’s commissioning of the first unit of the flagship Kafue Gorge Lower hydro-electric power project is testimony to our commitment and resilience in ensuring that the country’s electricity needs are secured and meet our needs today and the future,” he said.

Lungu said that in less than seven years his administration introduced an additional 1,350 MW of power generation to the national grid. Arriving at a total installed capacity of 3,250 MW.

The Kafue Gorge Lower station is located on the Kafue River in the Chikankata District, Southern Province. It includes a 140-meter-tall concrete-faced rockfill or roller-compacted-concrete dam and a power plant with five 150-MW turbine-generator units.

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