Zambia in efforts to up energy production
Lusaka – It has emerged that Zambia, one of the fastest growing economies in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Africa’s leader in copper production, may need in excess of 4 000 megawatts in the next two years to meet energy demand at home.
The government has stepped up its vision for energy growth to bolster economic growth prospects, as the country seeks middle income status by 2030.
According to a recent project by the government, Zambia needs to increase its energy generation by more than 39 percent to meet demand for exploration of new mining, oil and gas resources, as well as meet industrial and domestic needs.
Given the increased demand for energy, which has outstripped supply, the country’s state power utility, Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco), has devised a staggering budget of US$5 billion until 2022 to refurbish existing power projects and construct new generation stations in collaboration with the private sector.
Against this background, the state utility company has revised electricity tariffs to be cost reflective to ensure that it meets the desires of local and foreign end-users as well as lure investment in the sector.
Recently, Zesco revised tariffs for mining companies by 28.8 percent and on July 1, 2014, sought to revise the domestic tariffs by 24 percent, as part of the transition to improved service delivery.
The Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Christopher Yaluma, has said Zambia is expected to review power generation from the projected 2 200 megawatts (MW) to about 4 000 megawatts. Minister Yaluma told investors at the 4th Zambia International Mining and Energy Conference late last month that Zambia is projected to increase electricity supply once current projects under development as well as planned ones are completed as espoused by the Government in providing reliable power supply.
Projects such as the 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower hydropower project, 1 600MW Batoka hydro-electricity project between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Kalungwishi hydro-power scheme and the thermal power plant being built by Maamba Collieries Limited are some of the projects expected to raise Zambia’s energy profile.
Zesco, which is the main producer of power in Zambia, noted that the country has potential to produce 6 000MW, of which 2 200MW has been developed and is providing 99 percent of the country’s electrical energy.
Despite this potential, Zambia still has a power deficit, therefore, government has embarked on a nationwide generation programme.
Minister Yaluma has reiterated the government’s desire for both local and foreign investors, including mining companies to join hands under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme to ensure energy security.
The minister told delegates at the mining and energy conference that Zambia’s appetite for growth is increasing, hence the need for more reliable and cost-reflective tariffs being devised to ensure the country meets the expectations of the people. Presently, Zambia generates 1 400MW daily, which rises to 1 800MW during peak hours – forcing it to import almost 330MW from Mozambique and at least 40MW daily from the Demercratic Republic of Congo to assist sustain power consumption in Zambia and also service countries in the region seeking power sharing under the SAPP programme.