Southern Africa Power transmission projects: The Progress!

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The commissioning of about 22 000 MW of new generation capacity in the Southern African region by 2017 will require new transmission networks to evacuate power from generation stations to load centers in the region, according to Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) coordination centre manager Dr Lawrence Musaba.

Musaba, who addressed the 2014 Power & Electricity World Africa conference in Johanesburg last month, said that good progress had been made on the Zimbabwe-Zambia-Botswana-Namibia (Zizabona) transmission project.

Musaba said Mozambique and Malawi were undertaking a joint transmission project, which was being coordinated by United Nations international financial institution the World Bank.

“Utility project teams have been formed, the communication protocol has been set and a World Bank-funded expression of interest for the update of feasibility studies has been launched. This project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017,” he said.

Further, the Mozambique Backbone transmission project´s basic design and specifications have been completed, with financial closure having been reached for the development of the 1 500 MW Mphanda Nkuwe hyndropower plant, on the Zambezi river, between Cahora Bassa and Tete. The power station forms a “critical link in the transmission project” and is due for completion by the end of 2022.

Musaba highlighted that Zambia had started with the construction of the transmission line for the Zambia-Tanzania 400 kV interconnector project.

“The project is receiving funding from the Norwegian government and the project´s consultants are engaged in undertaking several tasks, including the technical feasibility and economic viability study, the conceptual design and tender documents, the ESIA and the resettlement action plan,” he pointed out, adding that the final inception report had been finalised and that the project was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has completed the construction of transmission lines for the DRC-Zambia 220 kV interconnector project. Connection lines in Zambia are scheduled for completion by the end of this year, with the overall interconnection project to be completed by the end of 2015.

“Two newly launched power transmission projects involving South Africa and Zimbabwe and Mozambique, are being supported and funded by the South African State-owned development finance institution the Development Bank of Southern Africa,” Musaba pointed out.

He explained that the purpose of these two new projects was to decongest the central power transmission corridor by establishing an eastern corridor through Zimbabwe.

“Concerning the Zimbabwe-South Africa project, a memorandum of agreement has been signed by Eskom and Zimbabwe´s State-owned power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, which is awaiting sign-off on the project from the Zimbabwe government. The line route is being finalised and the EIA is expected to start soon. The Zimbabwe-Mozambique project technical teams have also been formed and the project´s scope is being identified,” said Musaba.

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