BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes THE Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc (CEC) and pioneering technology leader, ABB, have handed over a US$2,560,000 retrofitted and digitised substation to the University of Zambia’s School of Engineering. The substation is equipped with modern protection kit and a digital bay, the first of this technology in Africa. Designed to provide practical learning in electrical engineering and power system management, the infrastructure was developed and commissioned by CEC in 2016 at a cost of US$2,560,000. CEC has spent another K118, 000 on the upgrade and other infrastructural rehabilitation works. Managing Director, Owen Silavwe, said CEC aimed at creating a strong partnership with the Government by creating these state-of-the-art training facilities for engineering students. Mr Silavwe said this was meant to develop a pool of fully capacitated human capital ready to meet the needs of the changing landscape in the power sector in Zambia. This, he said, would help reduce the skills gap in engineering students through exposure to the real-life electrical equipment used in industry. He was speaking during the official handover of the substation recently. “CEC’s involvement and contribution to the technology upgrade and facility rehabilitation reaffirmed the power utility’s belief that close and sustained collaboration between the business sector and academia as espoused in the objectives of EPA could progressively improve the delivery of training and education at African institutions of higher learning and the attained qualifications,” he said. At the same function, ABB senior vice president, global head of government relations, Tobias Becker, said the pace at which technology evolved required to be matched with the creation of learning opportunities that were in tandem with the needs of industry. “ABB is a strong believer in the power of engineering to promote human development. We are proud to be able to support Zambia’s largest university to modernize is training and ensure their graduates help the economic growth of the country and support the access to energy. “This substation will help Zambia to accelerate skills development as we look towards the future of energy,” said Mr Becker.