Zambia courts energy investors

 

Lusaka – Mining companies are free to mobilise resources and set up hydro power plants to complement the government’s efforts to increase energy use in the Southern African state, says Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister, Christopher Yaluma.

The energy sector is part of Zambia’s economic liberalisation programme, which encourages interest groups to team up and set up energy plants and infrastructure to supplement the energy deficit that the country is experiencing.

Zambia, despite its energy potential, generates a paltry 1 400 megawatts daily, which increases to 1 800 megawatts at peak period. 

However, increased demand from various players, including mining companies which consume 50 percent of the total generation, has necessitated the need for more players in the sector to boost energy capacity.

During the launch of an International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM) report titled “Enhancing mining’s contribution to the Zambian economy and Society”, Minister Yaluma said all mining companies were free to undertake additional investment in the energy sector.

Doing so would make Zambia self-sustaining in the use of electricity as well as enable the country to export excess power to its neighbours under the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).

“Mines are free to invest in energy sector… this is a liberalised economy and they will be welcome because we need more players to meet the country’s needs,” he said.

He said government plans to increase power generation by 39 percent through upgrading and construction of new energy infrastructure to sustain the country’s economy.

Zambia has since started construction of various mini-hydro power plants in the countryside to increase generation, distribution and transmission within and outside Zambia.

According to industrial experts, with about 40 percent of Southern Africa’s water resources located in Zambia, the country has the potential to generate 6 000MW of energy from hydropower, but currently only has installed capacity of about 1 700MW.

May 2014
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