The Zambian economy has been growing vigorously over the past decade, achieving an average annual growth rate of 6.4 percent. Electricity demand at peak times is estimated at 1,950 megawatts (MW), while the accredited available capacity is 2120MW out of which 85MW is the statutory spinning reserve.

In its continued effort to improve reliability of supply and improve Zambia’s electric power infrastructure ZESCO Limited, the state-owned power utility company, has embarked on an ambitious investment program throughout its supply chain of Generation, Transmission Distribution and Supply.

One of the key projects in this program is to maximize production and reliability at one of the country’s biggest power plants, the 990 MW Kafue Gorge hydropower station, by modernizing the aging plant automation system.

ZESCO chooses ABB

ZESCO selected ABB to supply a new distributed control system for the Kafue Gorge plant. Once installed, the system will automate the entire power generation process at the plant. It will control the six 165 MW units, provide an interface with the turbine governor system, and control the plant auxiliaries, start and stop sequences, electrical components and plant substation. It will also facilitate the remote control of the Kafue Gorge hydro facility, which is located ten kilometers upstream from the plant.

The solution is based on ABB’s Symphony® Plus total plant automation platform, and includes the S+ Operations human machine interface, S+ Engineering workbench, PDP800 interface, and HPC800 high-performance controllers.

ABB is also supplying protection relays from its market-leading Relion® product family, and will supply a new ergonomically designed control room with large screens to facilitate effective operator performance. Design, engineering, installation, commissioning and training are also included.