By Obert Simwanza
Zambia’s power utility company, ZESCO has awarded a Turkish transmission contractor a 15-month contract to upgrade the 342Km Kafue Town Muzuma-Livingstone high voltage transmission line to 330 Kv from the current 220 Kv, a Turkish official has said.
“The upgrade is Babcock’s first project of this magnitude in a SADC country and we’re looking forward to showcasing our unique upgrade capabilities with a view to expanding our project capacity into other countries in the region.
“In a very cost competitive environment, upgrade projects are becoming increasingly popular to meet Africa’s burgeoning energy demands,” said Gary Whalley, managing director of Babcock’s Power lines business unit in a statement.
He stated that EPC turnkey transmission line contractor Babcock’s contract would include in-situ condition assessment of the line, supply of materials, installation of new section strain structures and restringing onto the new and existing structures.
Whalley said that this would be one of the oldest high voltage transmission lines in Africa and the upgrade become necessary to increase the transfer capacity of the line to accommodate the input of new Independent Power Producers coming into the grid.
He said the project would effectively accommodate a life extension of a minimum of 25 years on this line.
On this project Babcock would utilise drones to perform in-situ tower inspections ̶ one of the first applications of this technology in Africa. These remotely controlled aerial craft, equipped with photographic equipment, eliminate the need to deploy climbers on the towers to conduct inspections, which represents a true safety innovation.