Zambia: EPC procurement to begin Q3 for 180MW hydro

19 Jun 2020

A request for proposals is scheduled to be issued in Q3 to prequalified engineering, procurement and construction contractors to build the 180MW Ngonye Falls hydropower plant in Zambia. Prequalification for the project got under way last year. The tender comes despite ongoing uncertainty about the direction of the power sector in the country, with national utility Zesco taking on ever more debt and the government picking a fight with the Copperbelt Energy Corporation, Zesco’s most reliable source of income (AE 417/1).

Ngonye Falls is managed by African Power Projects Ltd and InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), via Western Power Company. The plant will be a run-of-river scheme located on the Zambezi River, 320km upstream of Victoria Falls, and is expected to produce 870GWh/yr. It will comprise a gated barrage left of the main channel, diversion intake, headrace canal, forebay, power station and tailrace channel. The facility will connect to the grid through a 110km 220kV transmission line to Sesheke on the border with Namibia. This is expected to facilitate the use of an existing 66kV line to distribute power to local communities in the Western Province.

The project has received grant financing from the PIDG’s Technical Assistance Facility and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Construction is expected to take 30 months.

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