THE 300 megawatts solar electricity generation capacity by Zambia Scaling Solar Project has been inaugurated with President Edgar Lungu declaring that his Government is determined to halt load shedding and make Zambia a net exporter of energy in the region.
President Lungu said energy was the lifeline of any modern economy and that Zambia’s economic future prospects were tied to the development of the energy sector.
President Lungu said the difficulty realities of climate change had taught Zambia that over-reliance on hydro-power was not the best and, therefore, the need for urgent need to diversify the energy sector.
The Head of State recalled that during his inaugural address to Parliament in September last year, he had pledged that his Government would move to rapidly transition from the current power deficit to surplus and make Zambia a net exporter of energy within 18 months and was happy to note the programme was on course.
President Lungu said this yesterday at the inauguration of two sites to accommodate the first 100 megawatts of power under round 1 of Zambia Scaling Solar Project at the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone.
“Those who constantly wait upon adverse natural circumstances to occur so they can exploit cheap political gain are mistaken. We are prepared and we are moving in all ways possible to ready ourselves for every situation. Solar, wind, thermal and geo-thermal sources will be part of Zambia’s energy mix, and going forward, we will examine the nuclear option as part of efforts to ensure we are energy secure,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu’s Government was being compelled to import electricity at a huge cost using money which he said could have been utilised to improve the living standards of citizens.
The Head of State said renewable solar energy offered an alternative for the country to diversify generation beyond hydro-power which he said had become vulnerable to climate change as had been evidenced by the current generation deficit caused by low water levels.
President Lungu said solar energy was also a source of new clean electricity that would improve the standard of living for Zambians apart from supporting environmental sustainability.
Zambia will be the first country in Africa to implement the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar Programme which would enable the rapid development of private owned, utility Scale Solar PV projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“I particularly wish to thank the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group and the United States Government, through the Obama Power Africa Initiative for complementing our efforts to diversify the national energy mix by promoting development of renewable energy,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu said as part of the preliminary project development work, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) identified and secured land for two projects at Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone.
He said the power purchase agreements had been finalised except for tariff and Government support agreement which included a World Bank partial risk guarantee which had removed the need for a sovereign guarantee.
“The development of renewable electricity sources will accelerate economic development, contribute to increasing our country’s export base and create employment during project construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed 600 megawatts solar power plants,” President Lungu said.