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Wednesday, Oct 16th

Renewable energy the only option says Zambia's govt

Renewable energy the only option says Zambia's govt.

In the wake of increased power shortage being experienced in the country, Zambia is turning to renewable energy - especially solar technology, to mitigate the impact of load shedding.

The minister of energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma said the Zambian government will soon start installing 20 megawatt solar power stations in most parts of the country to mitigate regulated power outages currently being experienced.

He said the project will be completed through a public private partnership arrangement.

"Government has already come up with the guidelines for renewable energy aimed at guiding the development of renewable energy in the country," Yaluma said.

He refused to disclose the company that is partnering with the Zambian government for the project and the cost of implementation.

The Zambian government is also running another project, under the Rural Electrification Project's Sustainable Solar Market Packages (SSMP) initiative, aimed at powering rural areas through solar energy.

The deputy minister of Energy and Water Development Charles Zulu said to date the Zambian government has invested approximately $3.6 million in the installation of 707 solar home systems in just three districts.

"The best for us is just to go into renewable energy. It will take us some time but we just have to develop this sector. This is the way that government wants to take," Zulu said.

Zambia is facing its worst case of load shedding. Power utility company, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco) attributes this to low water levels at Kariba Power Station due to recent drought in the country.

Zesco has warned that the Kariba Power Station will continue generating 500 megawatts instead of the normal 1050 megawatts due to low water levels.

Kariba Power Station manager Samuel Sinkala said the plant will maintain power generation of 500 megawatts until the next rain season to avoid shutting down.

The power company has already cut supply to the mines by 15% as a result of the power deficit.

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