EMA Calls For Review Of The Proposed Batoka Gorge 2 400 MW Hydropower Project

EMA Calls For Review Of The Proposed Batoka Gorge 2 400 MW Hydropower Project
EMA Calls For Review Of The Proposed Batoka Gorge 2 400 MW Hydropower Project

Africa-Press – Zimbabwe. The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has called for comments with regard to the proposed Batoka Gorge 2 400 MW Hydropower Project. A statement seen by Pindula News says comments should be sent before 17 October 2022.

Batoka Hydro-electric Scheme (HES) is a proposed project that will be located on the Zambezi River approximately 54 km downstream of Victoria Falls.

The project site is located across the boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The project was first conceived back in 1972 and has been wheeled out a couple of times by our government as the panacea to our load-shedding woes.

Mega deals that include General Electric and China Power have been announced in state-controlled media many times, but none of them materialised. Reads the statement:

The Environmental Management Agency received the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the proposed Batoka 2400 MW Hydro Power Project in terms of Section 100 of the Environmental Management Act (CAP 20:27). Hydro Power Schemes are prescribed projects in terms of Section 97 as read with the First Schedule of the Environmental Management Act (CAP 20:27), thus require an ESIA study to be conducted, and issuance of an ESIA certificate before the project commences. As part of the review process, the Public is therefore being notified of the submission of the above-proposed project for review in terms of Section 100 of the Environmental Management Act (CAP 20:27) as read with Section 10(7) of Statutory Instrument 7 of 2007.

The proposed BGHES project will be located in the central portion of the Zambezi River Basin and will span across the international boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The proposed Hydro Power Plant is expected to generate 2400 MW Power. In Zimbabwe, it will be situated on the Zambezi River and approximately 47 km downstream of the Victoria Falls in Hwange District covering Matetsi, Chidobe, Katchecheti, Nemanhanga, Mbizha, Jambezi, Sidinda, Mashala and Simangani Wards. In Zambia, it covers parts of the Kazungula District in Mukuni and Katapazi Wards. The proposed BGHES Includes the following key components;

1. Dam wall and reservoir, including a spillway.

2. Surface powerhouses, one on each side of the river,

3. Transmission lines in Zambia and Zimbabwe,

4. Access roads (and Batoka Bridge) in Zambia and Zimbabwe; and,

5. Project townships (in both Zambia and Zimbabwe) and other ancillary infrastructure (such as quarries, spoils area and hatching areas). The Full ESIA report is accessible on the following link; https://www-zambezira.org/hydro-electric-schemes/batoka-hes-project

The Agency, therefore, invites comments from the Public as part of the review process on the proposed project to be emailed to [email protected] on or before 17 October 2022.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zambian counterpart, President Hakainde Hichilema, in August discussed the revival of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Power Project.

The discussion by the two presidents took place on the sidelines of the 42nd SADC summit held in Kinshasa. Said Hichilema after the meeting:

We had a good catch-up meeting and discussed issues around the Batoka Gorge hydropower project which has been on and off, we would like to revive it, it is green energy. I really want to thank His Excellency President Mnangagwa for taking the initiative for us to have a catch up meeting here and agree on how to move forward.

Zimbabwe has had a significant serious power deficit for more than a decade owing to limited generation capacity and insufficient money to import power.

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