SADC states urged to speed up ZiZaBoNa project

16 Oct 2014 16:50pm
WINDHOEK, 16 OCT (NAMPA) – The Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy has called on southern African countries to speed up the implementation of the ZiZaBoNa project to help relieve congestion in the energy transmission network.
The electricity transmission interconnector links Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
It is commonly known as ZiZaBoNa, and has the capacity to increase power-trading among participating utilities, as well as providing an alternative route and to help decongest the existing central transmission corridor which currently passes through Zimbabwe.
Energy trading in the southern African pool is limited by transmission constraints in the region.
Mines’ Minister Isack Katali said here on Thursday that the 80 megawatts (mw) power-purchase agreement (PPA) will not only address power supply security for Namibia, but will also improve the viability of ZiZaBoNa as it is only through agreements such as this one that power flow through this infrastructure could be guaranteed.
He was referring to the 80mw PPA signed between Namibian power utility NamPower and the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) in Windhoek on Thursday.
The ZPC will sell 80mw to Namibia for a period of 15 years at a cost of US$ 150 million (approximately N.dollars 1,5 billion).
At the same ceremony, Katali requested the project sponsors to ensure that the outstanding wheeling and purchase agreement for the ZiZaBoNa project be concluded.
Under the ZiZaBoNa agreement signed in 2008, all four countries’ respective power utilities – NamPower, ZESA, the Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO) and the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) - are expected to finance parts of the project which fall within their national boundaries.
The initial capacity of the transmission interconnector will be 300 megawatts (MW), which will be later increased to 600MW.
The project is to be implemented in two phases.
The first phase will cover the construction of a 120-kilometre 330 kilovolt (KV) line from the Hwange Power Station to Victoria Falls, where a switching station will be built on the Zimbabwean side.
The line will extend to a substation at Livingstone in Zambia.
The second phase will involve the construction of a 300-kilometres 330kv line from Livingstone to Katima Mulilo in Namibia, through Pandamatenga in Botswana.
The Zimbabwe-Zambia interconnector will be built as a high-voltage line with a transmission capacity of 430kv. However, it will operate as a 330kV line during the first phase.
The ZiZaBoNa project will be organised as a Special Purpose Vehicle, to be incorporated as a company in Namibia.
The four utilities will take 20 per cent each of the equity.
At least five investors have expressed interest in developing the electricity transmission interconnector.
The five investors are the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the French Development Agency and Stanbic Botswana.
Total funding requirement is US$223 million (N.dollars 2,2 billion).
Katali said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is also working hard, and has adopted long-term measures to address the energy deficit, and to ensure self-sufficiency in energy -generation through an ambitious Energy Sector Plan.
The Plan calls for the region to increase power- generation by more than 70 per cent, and to invest billions in power-generation over the next 15 years.