Government has launched a K40 million Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the development of the electricity sector in the country.
Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa said the IRP will help government assess the available energy resources and opportunities in order to meet Zambia’s electricity requirements.
Mr Nkhuwa said the development of the IRP through a British grant of 1.3 million pounds equivalent to K40 million presents Zambia with an opportunity to generate and enhance private sector participation in the generation, distribution and supply of electricity to domestic and commercial users.
He said the IRP will among others ascertain Zambia’s electricity investment needs, improve the reliability, affordability of electricity supply, reduce costs for delivering electricity services and minimize environmental and climate change impacts.
Mr Nkhuwa regretted that the country had over the past years failed to plan for the development and expansion of electricity generation and distribution and as the focus was mainly on supply.
The Minister noted that energy is a critical enabler for the development of the economy, wealth creation and reduction of poverty.
Mr Nkhuwa noted that Zambia is endowed with the necessary renewable and non-renewable energy resources which need harnessing.
He pointed out that Zambia needs to develop and diversify her energy generation from the traditional hydro power to smart technologies to meet rising demand for energy.
The Minister was speaking when he addressed stakeholders during a virtual launch of the IRP.
And British High Commissioner to Zambia Nicholas Woolley said his government remains committed to supporting Zambia develop her energy sector to help address the electricity deficit resulting from effects of climate change as seen from droughts the country has experienced.
The British envoy noted that Zambia’s socio-economic development has been slowed down by the continued power shortages and cuts which can be addressed by investing in alternative viable energy ventures.
He expressed optimism that the IRP will help unlock opportunities for the private sector to come on board and invest in the energy sector.
Mr Woolley said climate change has affected the globe and its paramount that smart solutions are
And IRP Project Director Joseph Mutale said development of generation and transmission infrastructure will be cardinal in developing Zambia’s electricity sector.
Professor Mutale said the project will run for 30 years as the country strives to incorporate smart grid technologies for the generation, distribution and supply of electricity on the market.
He said the project will ensure that both human resource and institutional capacity development are undertaken in order to enhance the development of the electricity sector in the country.