The Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme is one of several hydropower projects to be built along the Zambezi River by the Zambezi River Authority.

On completion, the hydropower plant will become the third largest station in Africa and among the sixty largest in the whole world by generating capacity. It is set to alleviate Zambia and Zimbabwe’s electricity shortages significantly.

The project is now in its fifth decade in the making, having been conceived in 1972, to identify possible power sources that could be developed to meet the demands of the growing nations of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In 2019, General Electric Co. and Power Construction Corporation of China were awarded the tender to build the $4billion dollar project. The project is implemented on a Build-Operate-Transfer funding model which means that no fiscal strains will be felt by either Zambia or Zimbabwe.

Close to 10000 jobs are set to be created and as ZRA spokesperson Munyaradzi Munodawafa said, “host communities will be given preference.” The Batoka Gorge Project is sited across the boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe upstream of Kariba Dam Hydro Electric Scheme and about 54 kilometers downstream of the Victoria Falls and will provide a massive total capacity of 2400MW to be shared equally between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Two 1200MW power plants are foreseen on the two banks, one for Zambia and one for Zimbabwe, each one comprising two underground waterways and an outdoor powerhouse parallel to the steep rock front and slightly rotated with the river alignment. Each of the four waterways is provided with relevant intake structure, concrete lined power tunnel, surge shaft and steel lined penstock ending into three manifolds that feed the relevant powerhouse.

The estimated annual energy production is 10215 Gigawatt hours per year and once both countries’ power demands are met, excess power will be exported to neighboring countries through the South African Power Pool (SAPP).

The Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme is expected to bring in over $750million United States Dollars in revenue annually, which will boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Text by Farai Chaka

From Energy & Power Insider 1