By Sunday Chilufya Chanda
His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has continued to work tirelessly to promote economic diversification through value addition and industrialisation, as espoused in our nation’s development blue-print, the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).
President Lungu and his administration is also cognizant of the fact that, without a thriving energy sector, our country cannot attain economic diversification through industrialisation and value addition. Hence, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has continued to prioritise and invest significantly in energy generation as demonstrated by projects that include the following:
- The implementation of the Lusaka Transmission and Distribution Rehabilitation Project started in 2013, and is co-financed by the World Bank, European Investment Bank and ZESCO at a cost of USD 246 Million. The aim of this project is to increase capacity to 900 MVA, thereby improving the reliability of the electricity transmission and distribution system in the Lusaka area by 2021.
- In 2015, the new Lunzua Power Station was upgraded to 14.8 Mega Watts (MW) from the initial 0.75MW in 1961. This power station has been synchronised to the National Grid. Nevertheless, the Power Station is able to supply power to Mbala, Mpulungu, Sumbawanga export line and Nkamba/Kasaba Bay and other areas, even when the main grid has an outage.
- In March 2016, the 120 MW Itezhi-Tezhi hydro power station was commissioned as a joint venture between ZESCO and TATA Power of India, and was constructed at a cost of USD 245 Million. Itezhi-Tezhi is being operated by Itezhi-Tezhi Power Corporation (ITPC).
- In 2016, the 330KV Pensulo-Msoro-Kasama and Pensulo-Msoro-Chipata Grid Transmission lines were commissioned as an upgrade from the previous 66KV. This brought an end to the low voltage electricity challenges to our people in Muchinga, Luapula and Northern Provinces.
- The Musonda Falls Power Station in Mansa district has been upgraded from 5MW to 10 MW. This has increased local power generation capacity to reinforce reliability of supply in Luapula province while adding capacity to the National grid.
- The flagship 750 MW Kafue Gorge Lower (KGL) Hydro Power Project constructed at a total cost of over USD 2.2 Billion, is another huge success. The KGL commissioned the first 150 MW in April 2020, and within the first quarter of 2021, the KGL will be able to operate at full capacity. This shall end load shedding in the country.
- Finally, the 15MW Lusiwasi Upper became operational by the end of 2020.
Government is expected to add 765 MW to the National Grid and “power and light-up Zambia” to economic diversification through value addition and industrialisation.
Our country’s future remains very bright, and the prospects of Patriotic Front’s Industrialisation Agenda highly attainable. President Lungu will not rest until this becomes a tangible reality for our great country, Zambia.
The Author is Patriotic Front Media Director Sunday Chanda