ENERGY and Water Development Minister Dora Siliya has said Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) and First Quantum Minerals have expressed interest to invest in the development of their own power generation either using solar or thermal to support their mining activities.
Ms Siliya said her ministry was encouraging companies to develop their own micro-grids to supplement electricity supply from the national grid and it was good that KCM and First Quantum Minerals have expressed interest to invest in the development of their own power plants for their own mining operations.
The minister said during the energy efficiency workshop at Moba Hotel in Kitwe yesterday that currently companies like Zambia Sugar Plc and Kafue Sugar were utilizing biogas to produce electricity for the operations of their plants.
“Am also aware that Dangote is using HFO to produce power to support their operations,” Ms Siliya said.
Ms Siliya also said in order to diversify the energy sector, Government was evaluating bids for development of 300 megawatts solar power plants across the country.
Additionally, Ms Siliya said Government was procuring 600 megawatts of solar power through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).
“Two plants of 50 megawatts each constitute round 1 of the 600 megawatts programme. Currently, the IDC is receiving bids up to 9th April 2016 with the winning bidder being selected on the basis of the lowest tariff.
“All the above measures are being implemented in accordance with the objectives of the national energy policy as well as the associated strategic national plans such as the revised Sixth National Development Plan, Power System Development Master Plan and the Rural Electrification Master Plan which are aimed at supporting sustainable development,” she said. She said Government had prioritized energy efficiency and demand side management as a short term measure to mitigate the effects of the power deficit.
“Banning importation and local manufacturing of incandescent bulbs is effective January 1st, 2016. The ban on incandescent bulbs is being implemented in line with the agreed position of the SADC to ban incandescent bulbs and promote efficient lighting technologies such as compact fluorescent lamps and lighting diode (LED) lamps in the region by December 31st, 2016.
“Under this programme, Government expects to spend US$20million. This intervention will save the country about 200 megawatts, equal to a virtual power plant at a cost of US$400 million,” she said.