MDH South Africa has proposed what the company is calling the Ndevu Gorge Power Project in Zambia. The project, which would have a generation capacity of 235 Mega Watts, is planned on the Luangwa River in the country’s Eastern Province.
The Ndevu Gorge Hydro Power project is based on the build of a double curvature dam wall on the Luangwa River creating a large lake of 165 kilometres in length and 17 kilometres in width, at its widest point. The initial cost projection for the construction of the project is US$1.26 billion.
The project is planned as a “multi-use” asset. This means that in addition to the hydro power generated, it will allow for primary irrigation-based agriculture around the lake. This access to irrigation coupled with the careful planning of the relevant agricultural crops could have a transformative economic development effect on an area that has been largely devoid of social and economic developmental activity, MDH believes. The company has also identified further offers aquaculture development opportunities.
MDH representatives have met with authorities in Zambia in order to gain support for the project. This trip followed “high level engagements” between Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa, Emmanuel Mwamba and MDH officials in Pretoria. The company has since made an application for ‘Authority to Proceed with Feasibility’ through the Zambian Ministry of Energy.
According to MDH, the delegation met with officials from the Office for Promotion of Private Power Investments (OPPPI) and the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) while further engagements are planned with Zambian utility ZESCO and the Water Resources Management Agency (WARMA). Local newspapers reported that Head of the OPPPI, Clement Sasa, hailed the project and pointed out that it could be possible to plan the route of the new regional transmission interconnector between Mozambique and Zambia in such a manner that it incorporated the Ndevu Gorge Hydro Power plant so as to assist with evacuation of power from the plant.
MDH Project Director Zander Van Der Walt has publicly stated that although MDH would be the anchor developer of the hydro power project, all relevant government departments and agencies together with selected private sector stakeholders were invited to form part of a larger planning committee to establish a master plan for incorporating the developmental and commercial opportunities the lake would bring.
“It is critical that local communities are the primary beneficiaries of such developments. We would, therefore, like to invite the Government of Zambia to walk with us down this road to establish this project as a beacon of hope in illustrating the nexus of commercial opportunities for private capital, with the social and economic advancement of local communities that benefit through sustainable jobs, as well as entrepreneurial opportunities – all in all, inclusive and sustainable economic development,” he said at a press conference in Zambia.
Image credit: http://www.zambiatourism.com/destinations/rivers/luangwa