President Lungu commissions the first 150 megawatts turbine at Kafue Gorge Lower

  • Jul 23, 2021
  • Lusaka Times

President Edgar Lungu has commissioned the first 150 megawatts turbine at Kafue Gorge Lower from the total 750 megawatts. The Head of State said that the commissioning of the turbine will significantly contribute to the improvement of power generation in the country, adding that the investment in the energy sector by his administration has made Zambia to be energy secure.

Speaking when commissioned the turbine today, President Lungu said that Zambia will never be the same in terms of power generation.

The president said that after taking over Government in 2011, the country only generated about 1900 megawatts but now about 3200 megawatts is being generated.

“Upon forming Government in 2011, my Government identified the need to invest in the energy infrastructure. We have made tough decisions to improve many sectors of our economy, such as energy.

“Therefore, the commissioning of the first turbine is a clear testimony that the country is energy secure,” the Head of State said, before adding that it must be put on record that the development has been accomplished under global challenges, Covid 19.

President Lungu said that He however says the achievement in the energy sector has increased power export prospects. The Head of State also said that improvement in power generation has enhanced mining operations and agriculture activities.

Speaking at the same event, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Li Jie says China will continue to be a all weather friend to Zambia. The Ambassador said that as China a world-developed country want to see to it that Zambia’s welfare improves significantly, adding that China want to ensure Zambia raise to greater heights for the good of the people.

Meanwhile Chieftainess Nkomesha II says with this development load shedding will come to an end and that the challenges which the country has been facing in the energy sector will be no more.

And Zesco Managing Director Victor Mundenda said that the investment in the energy sector by the PF Government under the leadership of President Dr Lungu will enable the economy to grow.

He says energy is cardinal to the running of the economy.

I would like to start by reminding all of us that on 7th July 2021, we laid to rest a visionary, our founding father Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, who laid the foundation upon which this country is built.

His government built the Kariba north bank power station, and the Kafue gorge upper station to boost power generation in our country.

It is, therefore, fitting that we celebrate his life by continuing on the trajectory of development that he and his colleagues envisioned. We ought to continue on the legacy of our founding fathers by leaving an indelible mark on our country’s history of power generation as we deliver the 150 megawatts Kafue Gorge Lower hydro-electric power station to the people of Zambia. Whether you like it or not Dr. Kaunda left an indelible mark on the Kariba north bank power station, and Edgar Chagwa Lungu is leaving an indelible mark here today.

Upon forming government, my administration identified the need to invest in infrastructure, and we have continued to identify and aggressively implement projects which will lead to more inclusive economic growth.

We in pf government have made tough but necessary decisions to unblock the challenges brought about by inadequate infrastructure in many sectors of our economy.

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. We in pf 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.

Our country has, over the years, seen increased demand for electricity to power activities. Demand has been in various sectors such as mining, agriculture, tourism, industries, education, healthcare services, and indeed our homes. The growth on demand for power has necessitated accelerated investments in power generation and transmission infrastructure.

It is not a secret from 1977 to 2011 that investments in power generation did not grow proportionately with increased demand.

The PF government, therefore, upon taking power in 2011 embarked on investing in robust power generation, transmission and distribution projects.

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.

This investment has been accomplished amidst financial and global health challenges, especially the covid-19 pandemic.

The commissioning of this power station today, demonstrates our resolve as we stand determined against cynicism to put this country firmly on an energy secure footing.

This investment has not only been in electricity generation projects but also in transmission and distribution projects.

My government’s commitment to harnessing the country’s comparative advantage to generate, transmit and distribute power to citizens is meant to achieve our mantra of not leaving anyone behind.

This government has overcome so many challenges and achieved so much in the electricity sector.

In less than seven years my government has introduced an additional 1,350 megawatts of power generation to the national electricity. Today as I speak we have a total national installed capacity of 3,250 megawatts. This is an increase of more than seventy percent from the previous installed national capacity of approximately 1,900 megawatts.

My government has undertaken the following developmental projects:

1) The new Lunzua power station was upgraded from 0.75 megawatts to 14.8 megawatts in 2015 this was meant to improve the quality of power supply to people in Mbala, Mpulungu, Nkamba, Kasaba bay and surrounding areas. With the new Lunzua power station and the proximity to the Sumbawanga export line, we have increased export prospects to our neighbouring sister republic of Tanzania.

2) The 120 megawatts itezhi-tezhi hydro-electric power station was commissioned in March, 2016. This plant came at a critical time when the country was faced with a devastating climate-induced power deficit, which lasted from 2014 to mid-2017.

3) I can give an example of the Musonda falls hydropower station located in Mansa district which was upgraded and uprated from 5 MW to 10 MW to support a growing base of diverse investments in fish farming, agriculture, and mining amongst others.

4) There is also the new 15mw Lusiwasi upper hydropower station constructed near serenje in central province which is almost ready for commissioning. Because of that serenje and surrounding areas have seen increased activities in agriculture and mining in recent years.

There is also soon to come the Lusiwasi lower power hydro station. This is a mini- hydro power station of 6mw capacity which was constructed in 1974 and will be increased to 86 megawatts.

5) In 2014, the pf government also commissioned the Kariba North bank extension power station, which brought in an extra 360 megawatts into the national grid. This represented the largest injection of power into the Zambian power grid since the construction of the last major power station.

In collaboration with the world bank, my government has since commenced the promotion of the construction of two renewable solar plants in the Lusaka multi-facility economic zone at a combined capacity of 82 megawatts of power. This will add renewable solar in line with our vision to diversify the generation of power to mitigate climatic challenges.

In addition, the german sponsored get fit project will produce 200 megawatts of solar power.

My government is also supporting a 600 megawatts renewable solar project, a public-private partnership (PPP) between ZESCO and power China.

Northern, Eastern and Muchinga provinces, had sufferred unreliable electricity supply before we formed the government. Citizens in these areas complained of constant low voltage, especially during peak hours.

From 2016, my government invested in a massive transmission line upgrade from 66 kilo volts to 330 kilo volts. This has since changed the lives of the people in those provinces.

In 2017, my government worked in collaboration with the German government, to complete a major project which connected the districts of Mwinilunga, Kabompo, Mumbezhi, Mufumbwe, Zambezi, Chavuma, Mushindamo, and Lukulu (in the western province) to the national grid.

Previously, the entire northwestern province apart from Solwezi and Kasempa were supplied by small diesel generators. We in pf have since connected western and north western province to the national grid.

My government has connected Nalolo, Sikongo, Lwampa, Luangwa, Chitambo, Lusingazi, and Rufunsadistrict to the national grid.

Also connected to the national grid areLufwanyama, Msanzala, Chasefu, Chipangali, Mpika Kanchibiya area, Monze North, Muzuma-Kozo, Kasamato Kachumu, Mporokoso to Mbereshi, Mufumbwe to Kabompo and Chavuma, Zambezi, Mwinilunga, and Ikelenge.

In addition, my government has invested in the Chama-Lundazi transmission infrastructure to connect the two districts as a matter of urgency as you know previously we used to get power for these districts from Malawi.

Before, I conclude I wish to recognize the significant contribution by the Chinese government on this project. China is an all-weather friend to Zambia. China does not put conditions on our friendship.

Let me end by stating that I am proud to be president of Zambia and a torchbearer of outstanding investments in the energy sector aimed at making the lives of our people better. We wouldn’t have been here today without your support to my government and ZESCO.

The legacy of our investments in the energy sector will continue to glitter in Zambia and within the entire southern African region. Therefore, continue supporting our investments in the energy sector and together we shall transform this country into an electricity hub of the region.

It is now my singular honor and privilege to commission the first unit of the Kafue Gorge Lower hydro-power station, here in the Chikankata district.

I thank you, and God bless you all

And our great republic of Zambia.