FRANCE’s leading wind and solar energy company ENGIE, has pleged to install ten (10) more mini-grids (PowerCorner) in Zambia.
The company inaugurated its first PowerCorner in Zambian’s Chitandika Village in Eastern Province on 3rd April, 2019, an event witnessed by ENGIE’s top management and the Energy Minister, Hon. Mr. Mathew Nkhuwa.
ENGIE is a French Multinational utility company which operates in the fields of electricity generation and distribution, natural gas, nuclear and renewable energy and a leading wind and solar energy company in France.
And Zambia’s Ambassador to France Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata expressed gratitude and called for more French investment in the energy sector and off-grid solutions.
Ambassador Kaseba-Sata was encouraged by the number of French companies pouring into the energy sector of Zambia and urged the company to continue on their expansionary plans especially in the rural areas.
“As you may be aware, our development agenda is guided by the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) which has placed the energy sector as an enabler and important sector to economic development. I am happy that you are considering plans to expand your business in Zambia and I’d like to state that there are more opportunities in the off-grid solutions as this is the area that remains unexploited”. Ambassador Dr. Kaseba-Sata said.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on the Zambian Envoy at the Chancery, ENGIE Africa’s Chief Innovation and New Business Officer, Mr. Raphael Tilot expresses enthusiasm of the company’s investments in Zambia and disclosed that his company had sold 90,000 home solar kits that had continued to change many people’s lives especially in rural areas.
“ENGIE’s new mini-grid in Chitandika provides energy to 378 households translating into 1,500 inhabitants which earlier lacked access to electricity and I am happy to state that this facility has enhanced the local businesses and supports public services such as a health centre and two schools. for us, as a long term investor, Zambia is a country where we would like to do investment and expand” Mr. Tilot explained.
Mr. Tilot added that the current PowerCorner was expected to promote economic development in the village by enabling other electrical productive uses such as water pumping for agriculture use, carpentry and welding machines, and by triggering business opportunities for entrepreneurs in the village.
Earlier, the Ambassador held trade talks with Mr. Thomas Verhaeghe, Managing Director of InnoVent, another French company that has partnered with the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) to develop a total 40MW solar plants under the GET FiT Zambia Programme to be located in Garneton North (20 MW) and Garneton South (20MW).
The Ambassador was happy that InnoVent had partnered with a Zambian company to undertake huge solar investment in Zambia as this partnership would ensure local transfer of skills and technology.
The Ambassador noted therefore that Zambia’s Republican President, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu has continously underscored the urgent need to increase electricity generation using alternative sources of energy.
Dr. Kaseba-Sata further urged the company to consider venturing into waste to energy and work tirelessly and stick to their timelines. The solar plants are expected to be commissioned by end 2020.