AfDB funds regional power project

HARARE - The Southern African Power Pool (Sapp) has received funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) towards the Zimbabwe-Zambia-Botswana-Namibia (Zizabona) transmission project.

Zizabona, a $225 million project expected to develop new transmission lines linking the four southern African countries, has begun implementation with Saap seeking to engage consultants.

“Sapp now invites eligible consultants to provide services on transaction and technical advisory services that include project packaging, project preparation, contracting and financing phases, market study and legal advisory services,” said the regional power pool.

Sapp is also seeking experts to assist in project coordination and supervision as well as the environmental and social impact assessment (Esia) for the line route in Zambia.

Panganayi Sithole, Zimbabwe Energy Council (Zec) director, said the ambitious power project is strategic for the region due to the current poor state of electricity infrastructure in southern Africa.

“At the moment most countries in the region are focusing on producing more power without paying attention to the transmission mode. Zizabona is very critical for Zimbabwe because once we have excess power, we will be able to export it without encountering any problems,” he said.

Sithole noted that the project will increase transmission capacity, as well as the reliability between northern and southern Sadc countries, while facilitating regional power trade through the Sapp.

Southern Africa — a region with some of Africa’s fastest growing economies — is at present facing critical energy shortages and has an urgent need to bring on line several energy generation projects.

Zesa Holdings, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation, Namibian Power Corporation and the Botswana Power Company, committed themselves to the $225 million project, which would develop new transmission lines to link the four countries.

Zizabona, which was expected to be completed in two phases between 2013 and 2016, would ease congestion on the transmission corridor to South Africa, as well as make it easier for the four countries to trade power with each other.

The first phase of the project would involve the construction and development of transmission infrastructure in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

About 91km of 330kV line between the Hwange substation, in Zimbabwe, and a proposed switching station near the Victoria Falls town, in Zimbabwe, would be constructed.

A further 14km 330kV line would then be constructed from the switching station to the Zimbabwe/Zambia border.

Simultaneously, the Zambian authorities would undertake the construction of a 14km 330kV line from a proposed Livingstone switching station to the Zimbabwe/Zambia border, as well as re-route the existing Muzuma Victoria Falls power station 220 kV line into and out of the proposed Livingstone substation.

The second phase of the project would involve the construction of more transmission lines between Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, as well as the construction and extension of substations in these three countries. - John Kachembere

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