AN ENERGY expert has challenged the United Party for National Development (UPND’s) energy policy, claiming that point four of the UPND’s 10-point plan does not offer anything newer than what Government is currently grappling with.
Energy Forum Zambia chairperson Johnstone Chikwanda stated that the challenges being faced in the energy sector across the African continent including Zambia have come about due to lack of investment in the sector over a long period of time.
“The dichotomous challenge involves low tariffs and lack of adequate new investment. The challenges we face in the African energy sector are so huge that most of them require regional integration efforts,” said Chikwanda.
Mr. Chikwanda noted with concern the failure of the UPND policy to talk about oil and gas exploration in Zambia and what incentives they will offer to investors so as to accentuate investment and development of gas fields in Zambia.
“Mr. Hichilema said nothing new in his point number 4 to spur new differentiated hope for improving the energy sector of Zambia and the region as a whole. The root of the challenge is low tariffs and not absence of a willing private sector investor,” said the energy expert.
On 21st May, 2016, the UPND launched its official campaign at a rally in Kitwe where Mr. Hichilema said that he would talk to his friends in the private sector to build power stations which will sell power to ZESCO.
Mr Chikwanda said the issue of energy ‘‘has been driving global politics and it is paramount that political parties in government and especially those in opposition try hard to distinguish themselves and offer clearly cut and well differentiated solutions to drive the energy sector going forward’’.
Commenting on renewable energy policy, as stated by the UPND, Mr Chikwanda advised the opposition party to be cautious as only a certain quantity of solar energy could be integrated into an electricity grid from a technical point of view.
“It is very unlikely that the Zambian electricity grid can be integrated with more than 300MW of intermittent power,” he said.