Kariba North-Kafue HV Transmission

Published: March 27, 2013

Kariba lake and existing lines - photo Thierry Aubarbier - Tractebel Engineering (FRANCE)

 

Assisting Chinese Group SINOHYDRO with the construction of 330 kV transmission lines in Zambia is proving an interesting new line of work for Tractebel Engineering (FRANCE) in the race to connect Kariba North HPP to Kafue West substation.

A NEW MISSION IN ZAMBIA

Tractebel Engineering (FRANCE) – Coyne et Bellier has a long standing relationship with the Zambian/Zimbabwean Kariba Dam authorities linked to the dam’s maintenance and rehabilitation. But this mission, working for Chinese EPC Group SINOHYDRO, is a different story altogether. Read more

BRINGING VALUE TO A VALUABLE CLIENT

The challenges faced on such a project are less technical than logistical. Ensuring smooth design coordination, logistics management and forward thinking needed to meet SINOHYDRO’s commitments, the team from Tractebel Engineering (FRANCE) is pulling out all the stops. Read more


  • Topographic works in the bush
  • Start of the line at Kariba substation
  • Good eyes can imagine the future line route!

Photos Thierry Aubarbier – Tractebel Engineering (FRANCE)

A NEW MISSION IN ZAMBIA

Coyne et Bellier – Tractebel Engineering (FRANCE) has a long standing relationship with the Zambian/Zimbabwean Kariba Dam authorities linked to the dam’s maintenance and rehabilitation. But this mission, working for Chinese Construction Group SINOHYDRO, is a different story altogether.

FAST FORWARD

This fast-track project relates only to the transmission of electricity and not the dam itself. It’s come about due to the fact that SINOHYDRO are currently installing 2 new HP 150 MW turbine units in Kariba North HPP (supplementing the existing 750 MW production). This means that ZESCO (Zambian Electricity Supply Company) needs new 330 kV transmission lines designed and constructed in time to export the power generated when the new units are commissioned in 2013, to the town of Kafue in the Lusaka Province, 135 km away.

ARRIVING AT A KEY CONTRACT

An interesting aspect of the mission is that Tractebel Engineering is working directly for the Chinese EPC contractor SINOHYDRO and not the end client ZESCO. This arrangement developed through Tractebel Engineering (FRANCE) assisting SINOHYDRO with their tender preparation to ZESCO. On winning the contract in February 2012, SINOHYDRO immediately signed up Tractebel Engineering (FRANCE) for the ongoing design development and logistics management of the construction project in partnership with OTEC (a Beijing engineering office).

QUICK DELIVERY

Services provided have included; assisting in meetings and site-visits as well as plotting the route and establishing the number of towers needed. Detailed surveys of the terrain have also been made as well as the detailed design of the towers, which are to be manufactured in China These will be shipped to Zambia and erected as fast as possible to get the lines up and running in time for the deadline (18 months from contract signature).


BRINGING VALUE TO A VALUED CLIENT

The challenges faced on such a project are less technical than logistical. Ensuring smooth design coordination, logistics management and forward thinking needed to meet SINOHYDRO’s commitments, the team from Tractebel Engineering (FRANCE) is pulling out all the stops.

MOVING AT SPEED

Technically, the most challenging aspect of the route design is that the lines must cross a major river, which is prone to flooding, outside of Kafue. For an experienced team this is not an issue. More pressing was the need to deliver, as quickly as possible, a well defined route; helping to establish costs and ultimately adding to the speed with which the almost 300 towers and lines go up. For the team, working across very different cultures on a very international project, this has meant adapting fast; learning to work the Chinese way and at Chinese speed – in Africa – in order to meet the expectations of all parties.

“We are giving this project our all in terms of managing the logistics and planning in order to fully satisfy SINOHYDRO. Key to this is being highly reactive, demonstrating commitment and great flexibility in our approach. As we’ve quickly learned to say in Chinese “Mei Wenti” – No problem!” Thierry Aubarbier – Project Manager

INTERNATIONAL ADDED VALUE

With the current activities of SINOHYDRO, the possibility to add value based purely on technical expertise and service is limited. But, like our relationship began in Hydropower (Pubara HPP Dam in Gabon 2007 – 2012), SINOHYDRO is growing in all directions. Closely tied to the Chinese Government and banks, the Group’s ability to facilitate loan agreements for its clients and new projects is adding to its success in developing regions like Africa and South America (technical assistance for Coca Codo Sinclair HPP in Ecuador); both established Tractebel Engineering’ markets and areas where we can add value through our international reputation and credibility. Plus, our good understanding of SINOHYDRO’s new markets; the countries, international standards and languages (important to business dealings but also the translation of engineering calculations and designs) help them save time on their projects. And on time-critical missions, like the Kariba North-Kafue HV Transmission project, that’s what counts.

Partnership

“As a non-Chinese company, it is impossible for us to partner SINOHYDRO directly, even outside of China. Working in partnership with Beijing engineering company OTEC, our involvement in Chinese financed projects is more acceptable and helps to bridge the cultural divide. Even so, business in China is based on hard-earned trust. Our goal, whether discussing designs calculations, or meeting a tight deadline, is to ensure that our client doesn’t ever lose face.” Jean Teyssieux – Director Dams & Hydropower Business, Tractebel Engineering (FRANCE)

Key EPC Clients

Fostering relationships with major EPC contractors is important to Tractebel Engineering in all areas of business. We are proud to be associated with many important Groups, particularly in dam and HPP development, including; French Group VINCI (Assuit dam – Egypt) and Italian Group CMC (Nam Gnouang Dam – Laos).

A world of T&D

From extra HVDC lines crossing Amazonian forests, to offshore wind connection and international grid interconnections, Tractebel Engineering’s leading Transmission & Distribution and Power System Consulting expertise is valued by clients in Latin America, Europe, Africa and more.

More information

  • Thierry Aubarbier
  • Felipe Nacife Gabriel
  • Jean Teyssieux


Thierry Aubarbier
, Project Manager
Felipe Nacife Gabriel, Engineer
Jean Teyssieux, Director Dams & Hydropower

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