GOVERNMENT has made further headway as it hastily creates a power-pool from imports and other local interventions to end load-shedding, Energy Minister Christopher Yaluma has said.
Mr Yaluma said among the projects to be rolled towards the end of this year and the start of next year are the Kasama-Pensulo, the Itezhi Tezhi power projects and the Maamba Collieries thermal power plant.
Additionally Zambia and Malawi have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a 330 kilovolts power interconnector to boost supply between the two countries as the region grapples with a power deficit.
Recently Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) signed another MoU targeting the development of hydropower plants on the Luapula River as a long-term measure to boost power generation for both countries.
The project would commence in 2017 and complete in 2020.
Mr Yaluma said on Tuesday after the signing of the MoU with Malawi that the projects once completed and others that would be launched soon, would greatly address the issue of load-shedding in the country.
He said the importation of 148 Mega Watts (MW) of power from Mozambique was already on course apart from the 100 MW which had already been added to the power grid from the neighbouring country.
He said another 60 MW was being planned for importation from South Africa.
He said once power was sufficient, Zambia would become a hub for power generation in the region.
He said it was for this reason that Government was fast tracking development and upgrading of infrastructure development in the energy sector.
“We agreed to fast track projects in the energy sector and we have gone very far in as developing this infrastructure is concerned,” Mr Yaluma said.
The 330 KV Pensulo-Kasama substation had been completed and transmission was scheduled for this year and the same applied for the 120 MW Itezhi Tezhi power plant slated for commissioning between November and December this year while Maamba which would produce 150MW would be commissioned by February next year.
On the inter-connector with Malawi, Mr Yaluma said this would involve the construction of a transmission line from Pensulo in Zambia to Lilongwe in Malawi.
Mr Yaluma said the connection between the two countries would help them manage power networks in the region effectively.
“I think this connection is long overdue for Zambia, but with what is going on in Zambia in terms of power crisis, I think this is the right time,” he said.
He said Zambia and Malawi should position themselves in the region to ensure inter-connectivity of grids was done across countries and assist boost foreign exchange.
He said Zambia would also sign more deals with Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.
Malawian Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Bright Msaka said energy was a challenge to both Zambia and Malawi hence the importance of the two countries to connect with all countries they shared borders with.
Mr Msaka said Malawi would be cooperating with Zambia in the energy sector to ensure that the two countries assisted each other.
“It is the desire of both of us to ensure we provide service to both countries. Our first inter-connector is with Zambia naturally. We want to promote and develop mining and manufacturing industries, as well as expanding domestic power,” he said.