The development of the Batoka Gorge hydroelectric power station is situated on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The required budget in order to implement and construct the hydro project was provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
A diplomatic disagreement between Zambia and Zimbabwe regarding money Zimbabwe owed to Zambia from projects implemented when Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi comprised a federation that ended in 1963 has been the reason for incredible long delay. This is not the case anymore as the Zimbabwe and Zambia governments are in consensus in putting away their differences originated from the dispute over payments on the Kariba dam. Commitment and loyalty from both governments is evident and they have the goal to accelerate the project.
Zimbabwe’s government has provided an estimated time frame as to when the construction for the project will start – the end of next year (2014). The aspects that are yet to be completed are the feasibility studies and the project’s designs. Authorities of the Zambezi River and Zimbabwe have welcomed bidders for the dam construction, which is said to take approximately 7 years to finish.
A new road has been constructed already in Zimbabwe that connects the site to the close by tourist resort of Victoria Fall. Zambia has yet to complete their preparations for the site project.
The Batoka dam will be located upstream of Lake Kariba and will stretch for 54 km. According to feasibility studies, each of the two countries will get 800 MW of electricity when the station starts generating power after 2021.
Why such a need for this new power operation?
For too long now Zimbabwe has experienced power shortages and since the beginning of the year this problem has only escalated.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has explained that this new investment as well as additional upcoming operations will allow all the sectors within the country to function efficiently.
Apart from the Batoka hydropower scheme, Zimbabwe has contracted China Machinery & Energy Corporation to expand two power generating units at the Hwange thermal power station. Zimbabwe has also contracted Sino Hydro for the growth and development of the Kariba South hydropower station which in turn will provide the country with an additional 900 MW. In 4 years’ time both of these operations will be finished.