Zambia: ZESCO embarks on $50m project

By Nawa Mutumweno – Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) plans to upgrade the 220 kV Kafue town- Muzuma-Victoria Falls transmission line to 330 kV at a cost of about $50 million.

The Kafue-Muzuma-Victoria Falls line upgrade involves upgrading the current existing line to a 330 kV power line from Kafue town substation to the proposed Zimbabwe-Zambia-Botswana-Namibia (ZIZABONA) substation in Livingstone, Southern Zambia.

ZIZABONA, a $225 million transmission project which would develop new transmission lines to link the four countries expected to be completed in two phases between 2010 and 2013, would make it easier  for these countries to trade power with each other.

According to ZESCO managing director Ernest Mupwaya, the transmission line will use the already existing towers and way leave acquired in the early 1970s for the project.

The project will meet the growing local and regional power demand, prevent power shortages that could constrain economic growth, and forestall environmental degradation in the event of power shortage in the country

The project is expected to create employment opportunities arising from improved power supply that will meet the economic growth of the country, and that upgrading the transmission line should be considered favourably, Mr Mupwaya said in an Executive Summary of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report submitted to the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) recently.

“The Kafue town-Muzuma-Victoria Falls 220kV transmission line connects the Victoria Falls power station to the national grid at substation through Muzuma substation. The total installed generation capacity at Victoria Falls is 108 MW. Recently, a 220 kV transmission line between Victoria Falls and Katima Mulilo (Namibia) via Sesheke was commissioned. It is through this link that electricity is being exported to Namibia,” he elaborated.

The EIA shows that the cost of the project is estimated at $49 350 000, of which $10.5 million will be for equipment at the Kafue town substation, Muzuma will require $18.8 million while $15.9 million will be for the transmission line. The balance is for environmental management, project management and contingency.

The development of the project will earn Zambia foreign exchange from export of power to other countries.

On the significant environmental impacts, ZESCO has taken into account the available options and all the identified negative and positive environmental impacts of the proposed project and recommended mitigation measures for the identified negative impacts and enhancement measures for positive impacts.

ZESCO is currently developing the ItezhiTezhi hydropower project and expanding the Kariba North Bank power station which would result in addition of a total of 480 MW in national generation capacity.