Andrew Galbraith indicates that the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) is a prime example of an organisational body that is driving a number of transmission grid interconnector projects.
“The aim with these projects is to link or reinforce and strengthen power interconnections between various countries, including Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The intention is to create a large power pool that will offer those countries with a power deficit the facility to import power, and those with excess power various options for exporting their surplus energy.”
To succeed in connecting power systems together requires entities such as the SAPP Co-ordination Centre to provide oversight. The Centre has numerous responsibilities, such as monitoring the operation of the power pool, and reporting on the control performance criteria to all the Operating Members. The SAPP Co-ordination Centre also has the onus of evaluating the impact of planned future projects on the operation of the power pool.
“One such project is the proposed 330 kV interconnector between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which WSP has been appointed by the SAPP to develop,” says Andrew Galbraith.
The project is financially backed by the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the AREP programme, as it is recognised that a strong transmission link will help both countries improve the security and reliability of their power networks, and that this will aid in fostering economic development and regional integration. The project also aims to support the development of an efficient and competitive regional power market to reduce electricity prices in the region.
Options being considered for this transmission line are to connect Kolwezi in DRC to the district of Solwezi in Zambia, through the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) network at Lumwana or Kalumbila Substation and the future Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL) network at Kolwezi NRO substation.
A team of WSP engineers from the UK, South Africa and Canada are in the process of undertaking a three-stage feasibility study to develop options and recommend a preferred solution for the interconnector. Work being provided includes initial assessment of the routes and substations, data gathering, financial and economic analysis, detailed route surveys and detailed design and specifications. All three phases will be completed within an 18-month programme of works finalising in 2019.
“The electricity transmission expansion in sub Saharan Africa is a specialist area for our business, as we have been implementing schemes for 50 years. We hope to continue to grow our strong reputation and our exemplary staff abilities”, says Paul Glendinning, WSP Head of Networks in the UK.