Zambia’s state-owned electricity company, ZESCO Limited has commissioned the 750 Megawatts Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower plant. The $2 billion power project is expected to enhance the nations installed power generation capacity to 38 percent. Speaking on Friday during the official commissioning of the hydropower plant in Chikankata District, Southern Province, ZESCO Managing Director Victor Mapani says the corporation is delighted to officially launch the plant at full capacity. “I wish to clearly state that before today’s event, Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower plant was operating on one generating Unit from the initially planned five following the suspension of works by the main contractor due to outstanding payments. This meant that the country could only utilize 150 megawatts or a fifth of the total generating capacity,” he said. Mr. Mapani further disclosed that ZESCO has successfully managed to inject the remaining 600 megawatts due to the corporation’s ability to raise its own finances, create workable solutions and implement an effective network system. “This success is owed to a strong system that we have developed as a company which resulted into the corporation managing to finance the completion of three generating Units within six months giving us 600 Megawatts. Today we complete the circuit with the commissioning of the fifth and final turbine giving us the maximum generating capacity of 750 Megawatts we are witnessing today,” he said. Meanwhile Republican President Hakainde Hichilema says Energy remains key to the New Dawn Government’s agenda for economic transformation and is essential to accelerating Zambia’s rise to prominence as a hub for regional, manufacturing and processing. “The development of this Power Infrastructure asset has boosted the country’s installed electricity generating capacity by 750 megawatts and an additional 12 Megawatts from the mini hydropower plant which is expected to come later this year. Your government remains committed to developing renewable energy solutions like solar power plants that produce intermittent power. However, hydropower plants will continue to provide base-load while realizing the requisite energy mix to attain a resilient power system which is immune to climatic shocks,” he said. The President has further lauded ZESCO Limited’s ambitions to increase electricity generating stations in the Northern region of the country. “ZESCO has made clear its active plans to develop more electricity generating stations in the Northern parts of the country where major loads are located, and more energy demand is projected especially from areas such as Luapula Province whose mining potential has yet to be fully tapped owing to inadequate power supply. These deliverables are premised on several other shared local and global commitments key among them, the sustainable development goals particularly no7 which states the need to ensure access to affordable reliable sustainable and modern energy for all.” Mr Hichilema has thanked and commended the Chinese government for being an all-weather friend in the country’s social economic transformation. “The new dawn government is particularly grateful to the People’s Republic of China for the partnership that yielded the project financing and construction works. This collaboration between the two countries is manifestation of economic diplomacy we passionately ascribe to. I wish to also thank other stakeholders that contributed to the success of this project by partnering with government through ZESCO to improve Zambia’s electricity service industry.” And speaking on behalf Energy Minister Peter Kapala, Infrastructure and Housing Minister Charles Milupi says the completion and launch of the Kafue Lower Gorge Hydropower plant by ZESCO Limited symbolizes the change of narrative to the effect that Zambia’s electricity supply industry is no longer about the never-ending talk of potential but actualization, growth and expansion. “The implementation of this project was not without challenges, the most incapacitation being the covid-19 pandemic. However, foresight and determination on the part of ZESCO led to this success story we are telling today. Special thanks to project contractor, Sino hydro Corporation who worked through one of the most crippling pandemics, covid-19.”