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By ZamChro Correspondent


Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) has completed upgrade and refurbishment works at its Kafue Gorge power station, adding up to 200 megawatts of excess power on the national grid, Zambian Chronicle learnt Monday.


An official with the state-run Energy Regulation Board (ERB) said following the completion of the $90 million works at the power station, ZESCO now produces 1,600 MW of power, compared with the peak power demand of 1,400 MW.


We are now producing excess power and we may soon start exporting it to neighboring countries experiencing power shortages, he said. The official added power demand from copper mines has reduced considerably since the start of the year, because of the effects of the global economic turmoil.


Copper mines consume 60% of Zambia’s generated power, and since late last year, a number of mines operating in Zambia have either closed down or scaled down operations as global metal prices lowered.


Last year, ZESCO had to import emergence power from Congo following a power shortage brought about by increased mining activities. Spurred by a global copper price rally in 2006, a number of mines embarked on expansion projects to increase output, which led to a power shortage.


According to ERB, last year, Zambia’s peak power demand was estimated at around 1550 MW but this has since reduced to 1400 MW due to reduced mining activities. However, ERB anticipates power demand to rebound next year and efforts are underway to upgrade other stations such as Kariba north Bank.


The Zambian Enterprise is also planning a 400 MW coal power station at the Maamba Collieries coal mine.


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