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MoZiSa transmission line to boost power trading in SADC

October 2014

Construction of a new power transmission line linking Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe is expected to improve connectivity and electricity trading in southern Africa.

Commonly referred to as the Mozambique-Zimbabwe-South Africa (MoZiSa) Transmission Project, the venture involves the three countries who are all linked to the regional grid.

All the power utilities in mainland SADC, with the exception of Angola, Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania, are interconnected through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), allowing them to sell electricity to one another through a competitive market.

In this regard, the MoZiSa transmission project has the capacity to improve access to power through the regional grid, allowing the smooth transfer of electricity between and among SADC member states.

According to SAPP, the MoZiSa project is being supported by the respective utilities of the three countries, namely Electricicade de Moçambique (EDM), Eskom of South Africa and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).

The three utilities have since entered into a memorandum of understanding to develop the interconnector and have formed three joint project development teams. The joint teams – a steering committee, technical committee and commercial committee – have been tasked with spearheading the implementation process, which will be coordinated by SAPP.

SAPP is a regional body that coordinates the planning, generation, transmission and marketing of electricity in southern Africa on behalf of member state utilities.

Southern Africa considers the development of transmission lines as critical to addressing the energy deficit situation in the region, which dates back to 2007 when SADC ran out of excess electricity generation capacity and many regional transmission lines were becoming congested.

As such, the MoZiSa interconnector will complement other regional transmission lines and facilitate power transfers within the SAPP network.

Furthermore, it will increase stability in the power pool through additional interconnection between the strong network in the South and the weak network in the North of the region, which has been a source of SAPP grid instability.

As part of the MoZiSa project, there will be various separate developments to complement the project to ensure that the MoZiSa interconnector is a success.

For example, in Zimbabwe there will be a new substation at Triangle and another one at Orange Grove.

Between Zimbabwe and South Africa, the Triangle-Nzhelele interconnector will be built with a 400kv line that stretches 275 kilometres.

A new 400kV line bay at Nzhelele substation is also expected to be constructed.

Other major developments are being proposed between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. For example, a 185km-long 400kV line will be developed interconnecting Orange Grove in Zimbabwe to the Inchope Interconnector in Mozambique.

Furthermore, a new 400/220kV Inchope Substation in Mozambique will be established, while a 360km long 400kV Inchope-Matambo line and a 400kV that stretches 115km will be constructed at Matambo-Songo.

SAPP has since received funding from the Project Preparation Feasibility Study Fund (PPFS) to be used to carry out a scoping study for the preparation of the MoZiSa transmission project.

The PPFS is jointly funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa and Agence Française de Développement.

A call for consulting services was made in August to carry out a scoping and conceptualisation study that includes reviewing the initial technical studies and work already done by the three utilities and advise on the technical work on the proposed transmission lines.

The work will focus on assessing the high level the risks inherent in the project at various stages of development.

“These preparatory activities would enable the project sponsors and SAPP and funders to take the necessary and informed decisions regarding funding for the Bankable Feasibility Study of the projects,” reads part of the terms of reference for the consulting services for scoping study for the MoZiSa transmission project.

The expressions of interest for the consulting services closed on 10 September, and SAPP is expected to announce the winning candidates soon.

The announcement will be an important step towards commencement of the implementation of the MoZiSa transmission project.