$33m AfDB power project set for 2018

Source: $33m AfDB power project set for 2018 – Sunday News Nov 27, 2016

Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE is expecting to start work on the Zizabona regional electricity transmission interconnector in 2018 after receiving a grant of $33 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to commence the project.

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Hwange on Wednesday, Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution and Transmission Company systems development manager Engineer Ikhupuleng Dube said the project, which is seen as critical to stimulating investment in new generating capacity in the power-stressed Southern African region and had been on the cards for about a decade was expected to start in two years.

As implied in its name, the project would facilitate power trade across Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, ease congestion on the existing north-south transmission corridor from South Africa to Zimbabwe and add a 400 kilo volts western corridor to the Southern African Power Pool.

“For component A which is Zimbabwe we have got a grant of $33 million from AfDB. It’s a 100 kilometre line from Hwange to the border with Zambia. Zizabona has taken a long time, close to 10 years. The problem was the implementation modalities and structures that when you deal with a project that is implemented in four countries it takes time to harmonise issues, requirements and legislation and agree on the way forward,” said Eng Dube.

It has been estimated previously that the project, which could involve a capital investment of more than $220 million, would be able to support the transfer of 600 megawatts of electricity arising primarily from existing and future hydroelectric plants located in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

We were expecting all the approvals to have been done by the second quarter of 2017 so that by 2018 we start. Zimbabwe has the longest line in component A Hwange-Livingstone but there is even a longer one on the Zambian territory going to Namibia but that is in component C, which is going to be developed after component A. There is also another component on the Zimbabwean territory which is a line from Victoria Falls to Pandamatenga,” said Eng Dube.

He said some families in Hwange’s rural areas were going to be displaced when the project starts.

“There are 65 families that are going to be affected by the plan and we are working with them and local leadership, stakeholders and communities to come up with a plan of resettling them. As a company we compensate people who are affected by our projects. We build them structures. The people will have to be compensated before we start construction because they will be on the way and that will take 24 months,” said Eng Dube.

He said work on another massive power project to benefit Zimbabwe and Zambia, the 2 4000 MW Batoka Project was set to resume soon. Zambia and Zimbabwe are expected to benefit from the trailblazing transnational project which has the potential to make both countries new exporters of power across the Sadc region.

The project which is expected to take approximately 10 years to reach full completion, will result in Zambia and Zimbabwe significantly reducing power shortages and reliance on coal-fired power stations.

“We have advanced plans of constructing new power plants like Batoka. Feasibility studies are supposed to be completed this year, there was an issue of completing the Environment Impact Assessment on the Zimbabwean side . . . work is going to resume very soon and we are looking at the commissioning to be done in 2022 to 2023,” said Eng Dube.