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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 10:58 EDT

MWH to Assist With Planned Hydropower Project in Zambia

July 14, 2008

MWH, a global provider of environmental engineering, strategic consulting and construction management services, has been selected to perform technical and economic feasibility studies and assist in the selection of an independent power producer (IPP) for the proposed 750-Megawatt (MW) Kafue Gorge Lower Independent Power Project in Zambia. The two-year, $1.5-million contract with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is scheduled to be completed in March 2010.

IFC is the lead transaction advisor to the Zambian government for the structuring and bidding of the eventual project to potential developers. Donor funding for the MWH consulting contract as well as for the project’s legal consultants comes from the DevCo Trust Fund.

The planned project is part of an effort by the Zambian government and Zesco, the state power utility, to avert power shortages and increase output to serve the growing mining industry and improve the quality of life for Zambia’s rapidly growing population. Of the country’s 11 million people, 98 percent of rural people and 60 percent of urban dwellers do not have access to electricity. An electricity deficit forced the state power utility to begin rationing electricity in 2007 while the cost of electricity continues to rise. Zambia, like many other southern African countries, has been hit by power outages that have forced copper and cobalt mines to scale back production. Total power demand – now at about 1,600 MW – is anticipated to reach 2,500 MW in the next five years.

The Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro Project site is in Zambia’s Kafue Gorge, about 40 miles upstream of the confluence of the Kafue River and the Zambezi River and three miles downstream from the existing tailrace tunnel outlet of the 900-MW Kafue Gorge Upper Hydro project. The Lower Project will develop the remaining 650 feet of head on the Kafue River and will contribute about 25 percent of the country’s entire supply of electricity. Zambia currently gets 98 percent of its energy needs from hydropower and the remaining from small diesel generators. When funded, construction of the facilities is expected to take five to six years at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion. The project would be the country’s largest planned power project.

MWH’s Work History in Zambia

MWH started working in Zambia in the early 1990s with a feasibility study for increasing water supply to Lusaka, the capital. This was followed by other feasibility studies to develop the hydropower potential of Zambia, including the Itezhi Tezhi and Kafue Gorge Lower on the Kafue River projects and a number of medium-sized projects (60 to 300 MW) on the Luapula and Kalungwishi Rivers.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that people should have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About MWH

Headquartered in Broomfield, Colo., MWH is a private, employee-owned firm with more than 7,000 employees worldwide. The company provides water, wastewater, energy, natural resource, program management, consulting and construction services to industrial, municipal and government, and other private sector and public sector clients in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, India, Asia and the Pacific Rim. MWH is a world leader in hydroelectric plant design and construction, listed as the Number 1 in Hydroplant as well as Dams & Reservoirs design firm in the June 23, 2008 edition of the Engineering News Record magazine. For more information about MWH, please visit the company’s Web site at www.mwhglobal.com.