6 June 2012 – Funding for the upgrade of the 340 km power line that connects Kafue, outside Lusaka, and Livingstone in the south of Zambia has been secured. The line will be upgraded from 220 kV to 330 kV, which will increase the link’s transmission capacity from 120 MW to 360 MW.
The project will include construction of new substations to replace power infrastructure that is over 50 years old. The project is a priority in the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco) master plan and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
The project is also significant beyond Zambia, within a Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) context, to help facilitate regional power trade. The upgraded Kafue/Livingstone line is part of the new SAPP north-south connection through the Caprivi link that bypasses the heavily overloaded and unreliable network section in Zimbabwe.
For Zambia, after the upgrade, transmission capacity between the Victoria Falls hydroelectric station in Livingstone and Lusaka will be doubled. The upgraded line will be the conduit into the national grid for the power to be generated by a 300 MW thermal power station planned at the Maamba coal mine in the Zambezi Valley.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will co-finance the project and provide US$30 million towards it. Other co-financers will be the World Bank and the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco), with the total cost of the project estimated at US$100 million.