UK engineering consultant WSP has been appointed by the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) to develop a proposed 330 kV interconnector between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The project has received financial backing from the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the AREP programme.

A strong transmission link will help the DRC and Zambia to improve the security and reliability of the power networks and to foster 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.

The 330 kV transmission line will 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 engineers will undertake a three-stage feasibility study to develop options and recommend a preferred solution for the interconnector. Work 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.

Paul Glendinning, WSP head of networks, comments: “This is an excellent win for WSP as it brings together our UK operation with its newly developed modelling skillset and expertise from our South African and Canadian offices.

“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.”