Zambia has implored Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to develop and promote the use of renewable energy to safeguard their economic development from negative impact of climate change which hampers hydro-power production and supply.
Ministry of National Development Permanent Secretary (Development Planning) Chola Chabala called for investment in hydro, geothermal, wind and solar energy generation to increase and ensure reliable supply of energy to propel LDCs’ economic growth.
Mr. Chabala was speaking at World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC during a breakfast meeting for LDC Governors and their development partners, co-organized by the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS (UN-OHRLLS) and the World Bank, during the 2018 IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings.
The Permanent Secretary said Climate Change affects people in LDCs because they often have limited or unreliable access to energy.
“It is for this reason that sustainable energy finance becomes critical especially in environments characterised by depleting resources and weak resilient mechanisms,” Mr. Chabala said.
“The real policy focus for Zambia and indeed most LDCs is to have a policy framework that provides for energy mix without necessarily being dependant on one source of energy or the other. This helps countries minimise shocks in an event of failure associated with vagaries of the weather when a country is predominantly dependant on hydro or solar power.”
He said the economic impacts of climate change on hydropower generation culminates in both the cost of power cuts, low industrial production and wasted investments in dams arising from inadequate water to generate electricity.
Mr. Chabala said Zambia was highly dependent on hydro power generation at 84.5 percent but that severe drought of 2015 almost crippled the economy hence re-awakened the country’s resolve to invest in alternative sources of energy.
“In addition to hydro electricity generation, we have set ourselves a target to improve alternative sources of energy. Currently our solar energy production is standing at 0.06 per cent of our energy generation and we intend to take this up to six per cent,” Mr. Chabala said. “Climate change is here, and drought will always be there and in an event that we have droughts, and hit severely, we can have alternative sources of energy to fall back on and solar offers us a very reliable source of energy as the country.”
The Permanent Secretary said between the 7th National Development Plan has desidnated four key programmes to achieve SD7 on energy and these are: (a) Appropriate policy and legal framework; (b) Renewable and alternative energy development promotion; (c) Wood fuel sub-sector management; and d) Energy efficiency and conservation promotion,” Mr. Chabala said.
He said Zambia, with support from the World Bank, is implementing a Scaling Solar Program through active promotion and increased use of renewable energy technologies.
The Permanent Secretary said the Scaling Solar Project was targeting to produce about 300 megawatts and if that was to be scaled up further solar energy would by 2030 be a viable alternative source of energy and help in meeting the SDG targets on energy.
Mr. Chabala observed that a mix of private sector and other development partners like the Green Climate Fund (GCF) can blend their financing to support huge and complex projects like hydro-power projects. He disclosed that Zambia had taken initiatives to leverage on the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to catalyse private investment in renewable energy to accelerate the attainment of the country’s electricity generation and diversification targets.”