21 July 2009 – Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia are to built a US$225 million power line which will allow for the transmission of an additional 600MW to the region, it was revealed last week.

The project, known as Zizabona, should be completed by the last quarter of 2010 and will allow easier power trade between the four countries via the Southern African Power Pool.  It will also allow for easier transmission of power from the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa.

"The four utilities will develop, build and own the transmission infrastructure. This project seeks to reduce losses and congestion on the SAPP central corridor," said Zesa official, Musara Beta..

"The project clearly would serve the national electricity needs of all four member countries and the interconnector would also … decongest the central corridor," he said.

The transmission line will extend from Hwange substation to a switching station near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, into Livingstone, Zambia. The line will also link Pandamatenga in Botswana and the Zambezi substation in Namibia.

Zesa has also proposed the construction of a 160km line to increase the north-south transfer capacity of the Zimbabwean network to 600MW up from 200MW.

The Central Transmission Corridor (CTC) will cost in the region of US$100 million says Zesa CEO, Ben Rafemoyo.   The project is scheduled for completion by December 2012 and is expected to reduce congestion costs and lead to more efficient power trading.

According to Rafemoyo, CTC have a long-term agreement with Eskom as the South African utility is wanting to import more power from the DRC and Mozambique.

"Eskom are the long-term off-taker. Key terms of the contract, including tariffs, have now been agreed with Eskom," he said.