THERE may be an increase in load shedding of an hour or two from July until December 2016 due to an expected decline in water levels at the Kariba Dam, Ministry of Energy and Water Development permanent secretary Edward Chomba has said.
Bishop Chomba said the water levels in the Kariba reservoir were expected to decline from July until December 2016 which may force Zesco to drastically adjust its power generation capacity.
Speaking on behalf of Energy Minister Dora Siliya at a media cocktail in Lusaka, Bishop Chomba said projected trends based on the rainfall pattern showed that water levels at the Kariba dam would rise until June, 2016 but start declining from July until December, 2016.
“Evidenced by the late rains we experienced, it was still raining in the first and second week of April that increased a bit of cubic centimetres. But since the rains have stopped, there will be a decline because we do not have any water to fill up the reservoirs.
“It takes about three months for water to travel from Kafue in Ndola to Itezi Tezhi, so we will be experiencing a decline. If it is based on the same hydro, then obviously there may be a decline or an increase in load shedding, maybe with an hour or two,” he said.
Bishop Chomba said out of the installed power capacity of 2,428 megawatts (MW), only 1,155 MW was available against a peak demand of about 2,019 MW.
He said the current stringent load shedding that Zesco was undertaking was to ensure that machines did not shut down which would be detrimental to the economy.
Bishop Chomba however said the increase in load shedding may be avoided with the coming on board of the Maamba Collieries and other power generation initiatives.
He said his ministry, with assistance from the World Bank, was developing a renewable energy resource map for Zambia focussing on solar and wind energy.
“This map will provide Government and private investor with information on the country’s resources potential to guide investments on suitable locations and quantities of the renewable resources available in Zambia,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Chomba said K255 million had been set aside this year for water resource development which included the construction of nine dams by the Ministry of Energy and Water Development.
He said his ministry would spend part of the money to rehabilitate eight existing dams while drilling 99 and rehabilitate 36 water facilities.
Bishop Chomba said the ministry had partnered with the World Bank under the Zambia water resources development project which would run from 2016 to 2018 to develop a dam development investment master plan.
And Zesco acting managing director Fidelis Mubiana said the water levels at Kafue Gorge reservoir had not significantly improved, hence management’s decision to maintain the generation level at 630 MW out of 990 MW.
Mr Mubiana said load shedding management exercise would continue in an effort to ration the available power.