Zambia seeks additional electricity

Under the ongoing rehabilitation of equipment, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation has budgeted US$1 billion for expansion of the Kafue power station and US$120 million for the Ithezi Thezi power station.

The refurbishment of Kafue power station would boost power from 700 megawatts to 800 megawatts. At Ithezi Thezi, power output would be expanded to 100 megawatts from the current 80 megawatts.

“We’ll start with Ithezi Thezi before moving to Kafue lower power stations. Rehabilitation at Ithezi Thezi starts by mid next month while at Kafue, work will start in June next year,” Energy minister Felix Mutati said.

Zambia currently produces about 1,500 megawatts.

ZESCO seeks to partner with the private sector to boost the finance base to meet the demands of power supply in Zambia and in the southern African region by 2008.

Zambia and the rest of the region face a critical shortage of power, both domestic and commercial, because of run-down equipment leading to power failures at various power stations in many parts of the country.

Mutati said Zambia’s central position in the region and its vast water resources give it the capacity to increase power generation and transmission to offset some of the deficits faced in the region.

About US$2 billion has been earmarked for expansion and rehabilitation at various power stations, with several international financing groups expressing interest to join hands in the undertaking, according to ZESCO.

Managing Director Rhodine Sisala said talks with the private sector to boost power generation through construction of more hydro-power stations are underway.

The government was currently identifying potential partners and hydro-power sites to start the exercise, said Sisala.

To boost production, ZESCO has engaged an Iranian and a Chinese firm to construct two hydro power stations and boost the power generation. The utility power firm has started a US$300 million major overhaul of its existing power stations at Livingstone, Kafue Gorge and Kariba.

Recently ZESCO, in collaboration with Namibian power company, Nampower, energised a 25 Mega Voltage Ampias transformer in Sesheke in western province to improve electricity supply.

Energising of the transformer at Sesheke/Katima Mulilo to 220Kv from 66 Kv, recently means that the upgraded power supply from Zambia to Namibia would also meet the power needs for people in western province affected by the low supply.

The technical commissioning of the interconnector project involves switching power flow to the new transmission line constructed under the US$13.5 million project to Namibia’s Katima Mulilo town.

The project would only be feasible once the Nampower completes its extension works at its substation in the border town.

The upgrading of the transformer at Sesheke would connect to the equipment at the Victoria Falls Kilovolt line and transformers at Sesheke substation.

Thereafter power would be injected into the line to assess the stability of the power line and a load has now been set up at Sesheke and Katima Mulilo, ready to start feeding the customers.

Work on the Victoria Falls-Katima Mulilo 220Kv has reached an advanced stage and Zesco project manager Augustine Musumali said the completion of the project would provide Namibia with more power through Katima Mulilo town, as well as the western province of Zambia.

Head of Nampower International, Krishna Nair, said the new transformer at Sesheke substation would now help his firm meet half of the power demand in the area. Nair explained that the current demand for power in Namibia was between five to six megawatts, with a certainty of faster increase because of the numerous economic developments being undertaken by the private sector in that country.

Katima Mulilo Namibia has been a recipient of ZESCO’s power for over 15 years, because the border area is not currently connected to the Nampower grid.

The Sesheke/Katima Mulilo project essentially involved the construction of 230km of 220Kv transmission line from Victoria Falls in Southern Zambia to Namibia’s Katima Mulilo.

Initially, power supply to Katima Mulilo stood at 11Kv from 1991, but was upgraded to 66Kv in 1995 because of increased demand.

October 2006
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