LUNGU’S PF SCORES HIGH ON ENERGY
…through massive investment in power generation capacity
When President Michael Chilufya Sata and the Patriotic Front (PF) Government assumed office in 2011, Zambia’s power generation capacity stood at measly 1,600 Megawatts (MW).
With a boost in construction, mining, agriculture and manufacturing activities, demand for electricity increased to support economic growth. But this economic boom suffered energy insufficiency as demand for electricity both for industrial and domestic consumption, outstripped supply.
The inadequacy in hydro generated electricity strained the national electricity grid.
The high demand for energy coupled with the drought that hit the southern African region in the 2018- 2019 season, significantly reduced water levels in the reserves for hydro-power generation. This scenario further compounded the power deficit.
In an effort to manage the load on the already strained national electricity grid and to save it from collapse, Zesco, the national power utility company, introduced load shedding for at least eight (😎 hours a day for the majority of its household, commercial and industrial consumers.
However, this power conservation measure affected most business operations both small and largescale, impacting negatively on the economic activiti9es of the country hence affecting growth.
It now became apparent to the PF Government that in order to put the country back on the right development trajectory, the energy deficit needed to be resolved as a matter urgency through massive investment in electricity generation.
This policy decision was as a result of the fact that the last major investment in electricity generation happened more than four decades ago, in 1977.
This was when the United National Independence Party (UNIP) Government under the leadership of late President Kenneth David Kaunda commissioned the Kariba North Bank power station and installed two additional generators at Kafue Gorge power station.
It is against this background that since assuming power in 2011, the PF Government embarked on an ambitious programme to exponentially invest in electricity generation and successfully doubled generation capacity over a period of nine years.
Zesco Limited spokesperson Henry Kapata states that energy is central to the effective management of any economy.
He adds that currently, Zambia’s total electricity generation capacity stands at 2,800 MW from 1,600 MW in 2011.
Mr Kapata said since 2011, the following electricity generation projects have been installed:
· Kariba North Bank Power Station 360 MW;
· The Itezhi- Tezhi Hydro Power Station 120 MW;
· In 2015, the new Lunzua was upgraded to 14.8 MW;
· The Musonda Falls Power Station in Mansa was upgraded from 5 MW to 10 MW to supply power to 7 districts;
· In 2012, the Shiwang’andu 1 MW mini hydro power Sivananda station;
· In 2013, Lusaka Transmission and Distribution Rehabilitation Project (LTDRP) of 900MVA;
· In 2016, the 330 KV Pensulo- Msoro-Kasama and Pensulo-Msoro Chipata grid transmission lines; and
· In 2017, the connection of 7 districts in North-Western Province and one District in Western Province.
Government also created an enabling environment for independent power producers to undertake the following projects:
· 300 MW Mamba Collieries Ltd (MCL);
· 120 MW Itezhi-tezhi Power Corporation (ITPC);
· 54 MW Bangweulu’s Solar Park;
· 105 MW Ndola Energy Company (NEC) thermal power plant capacity
· 56 MW Lunsemfwa hydro power company.
· 34 MW Ngonye solar PV plant.
· 0.75 MW Zengamina Power Company (ZPC); and
· North-Western Energy Company and Supply of Electricity.
Following the successful implementation of these projects, Government in 2017 again embarked on the Electricity Services Access Project (ESAP) aimed at connecting rural communities to electricity.
In his address to the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly on Progress Made in the Application of National Values and Principles on 12th February, 2021, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu informed the nation that to improve the quality of life for Zambians without leaving anyone behind, implementation of the Electricity Service Access Project was going on well.
The Head of State said by the end of 2020, the number of beneficiary households stood at 29,968 out of which 9,082 were female-headed.
“Once completed 38,296 households in rural areas will have access to electricity. Further, Government is implementing other projects to increase access to electricity in rural areas. This Government cares,” President Lungu said.
In line with Government’s vision to diversify the generation mix to mitigate climatic challenges, the PF Government embarked on the development of renewable solar power as an alternative to the country’s hydro power resources.
In collaboration with the World Bank, Government has since promoted the construction of two renewable Solar Plants in Lusaka Multifacility Economic Zone at a combined 82 MW of power under the scaling solar phase 1 Project, which is currently being fed into the National Grid.
The PF Government is also supporting a 600MW renewable Solar Project, which is another Public Private Partnership (PPP) endeavour between Zesco and PowerChina. The total cost of this project is estimated at US$548 million and is expected be commissioned in next year.
In conclusion, the Government under the leadership of President Lungu intends to build on these remarkable successes by transforming Zambia into a regional electricity hub by increasing power generation.
This is in line with the PF manifesto 2021-2026 themed “Making Every Zambian Count- Continuity for a Prosperous, Peaceful Stable and an All-Inclusive Zambia.”
This will result further improve the quality of supply domestically, thereby having excess power for exports market.
Evidently, load shedding is now a thing of the past and Zambia under the leadership of President Lungu is on the right development trajectory