The World Bank group has launched the solar and wind resource atlas and handed over the resource mapping measuring equipment to the Ministry of Energy, aimed at giving accurate information on the solar and wind resources in the country.
Minister of Energy Mathew Nhkuwa has disclosed that government is diversifying the national energy mix through the utilization of the abundant renewable energy resources available in the country, with a view to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Mr Nhkuwa however noted that the sector has been facing challenges in the process of diversification due to inadequate information on solar and wind resources which can be used for planning and project formulation.
He said this is why the World Bank, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy has been conducting the resource mapping project for the past two years, starting in 2016, whose outcome is the resource atlas for wind and solar.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lusaka today, the Minister said the resource atlas mapping presented will provide variable information that will encourage developers to invest in solar and wind as a way of complementing hydro power which is vulnerable to climate change.
Mr Nhkuwa added that with the launch of the mappings it is expected that power developers will have reduced feasibility study costs as they will have power generation.
The Minister further explained that the equipment will also be used for continuous measurements of the resources as the modelling of the projects will require latest raw data.
He noted that government will ensure that equipment is managed sustainably by local institutions, who will include the University of Zambia and the Zambia Meteorological department who were selected to ensure that effective mechanisms are put in place for sound operations and maintenance.
And World Bank Group Country Manager Ina-Marlene Ruthenberg said Zambia is endowed with enormous renewable resources, including solar energy, wind and small hydro plants which have remained undeveloped due to lack of data.
Ms Ruthenberg added that lack of available resources, lack of available funding and inadequate policy provisions has negatively affected the development of potential renewable energy in the country.
She said the World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP) working with government initiated the assessment of solar and wind resources with an aim to develop the solar wind resource maps for Zambia, in order to provide quick and easy access to solar and wind resource data.
Under the project eight wind masts of 80 metres high and six state of art solar measuring equipment were installed across the country to collect valuable data for the resources.