Zambia eyes two bidders for 200-MW Kalungwishi

Two firms are in the running to construct the 160- to 200-MW Kalungwishi hydropower station in Zambia as part of a US$1.2 billion plan to address looming power shortages.

Lunsemfwa Hydro Power Co. Ltd. and Olympic Hydro Ltd., through its Lunzuwa Power Authority unit, have submitted bids to construct the project near Zambia’s northern border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Energy and Water Development Minister Felix Mutati said January 9.

�We will be selecting the preferred bidder for the Kalungwishi power project within three months,� Mutati said without giving details of the firms or their bids.

South Africa state utility Eskom owns a majority stake in Lunsemfwa.

Kalungwishi is expected to cost between US$160 million and US$300 million, including construction of power lines to connect to the national grid. Final capacity of the plant will be determined by technical changes initiated by the winning bidder, Mutati said.

The minister said Zambia is prioritizing its plan to build power plants to meet rising demand in the country’s copper and cobalt mines and from other countries that consume energy in southern Africa. Copper and cobalt production is Zambia’s economic lifeblood.

�Our aim is to fast-track all pending power projects in order to meet rising demands,� Mutati said. �The copper mines alone require between 50 MW and 100 MW in additional power every year.�

Minister: 750-MW Kafue Lower, 120-MW Itezhi-Tezhi on track

The US$1.2 billion earmarked for Zambia’s energy upgrades will be spent over the next five years on modernizing power facilities and constructing new stations, with financing coming from China and Iran as well as other investors.

Plans by state power utility Zesco to construct the 750-MW Kafue Gorge Lower hydroelectric project in partnership with Sinohydro of China and the 120-MW Itezhi-Tezhi hydro project with Farab International of Iran also are on track. (HNN 2/27/06)

�Itezhi-Tezhi and Kafue Gorge are coming through very well,� Mutati said. �Zesco will this month negotiate for the construction of the Kafue (Gorge Lower) and Itezhi-Tezhi power projects, and it’s looking good so far.”

Zambia, which has vast power generation and transmission potential owing to its hydro resources, hopes that the private sector will assume the bulk of the construction and financing of the planned power stations.

Zambia exports power to Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. Experts predict southern African will face an electricity shortfall by 2010 due to economic growth in the region, particularly due to increased mining and manufacturing. (HNN 12/20/06)

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