Monday, April 15, 2024

Government to scale up rural electrification

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The government will prioritise scaling up the programme of rural electrification to enhance productivity and improve quality of lives in rural areas.

Minister of Energy, Peter Kapala indicated that the government’s intention is to scale-up the programme of Rural Electrification through the extension of the grid network and deployment of off-grid electrification solutions such as mini grid, solar home systems and provision of solar water pumping technologies.

Speaking yesterday when he officiated at the official opening of a three-day Symposium organised by Rural Electrification Authority(REA) for members of Parliament on the Rural Electrification programme.

Mr Kapala said the government has pledged to deliver reliable, affordable and clean energy through the implementation of the Rural Electrification Programme as well as an ambitious renewable energy investment plan.

He explained that the plan will improve the energy mix and reduce Zambia’s vulnerability to climate change by leveraging on the declining cost of technologies to harness the country’s vast energy resources such as solar, wind, bioenergy and geothermal energy.

Meanwhile, First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, Malungo Chisangano said it is important that the country embraces other sources of energy in order to speed up the implementation of the rural electrification programme.

She noted that electrification is a costly venture, more so when it is targeted at rural areas, most of which are off or far away from the national grid and implementing other sources of energy will address this challenge.

Ms Chisangano also expressed gratitude to Rural Electrification Authority (REA) for organising a three -day Symposium to engage members of parliament on rural electrification matters.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Connection of rural areas to the national grid is a non-starter. For the cost, but most of all because of the capacity of the grid – which is only diminishing mainly as the water levels in Lake Kariba are decreasing to alarming levels. Loadshedding is around the corner. Rural areas: mini and micro grids, with solar, hydro, wind or hybrid is the answer.

  2. It’s costly to connect remote areas to the national grid, therefore, you must focus more on mini grids and solar farms. Besides most electricity in rural areas is for domestic consumption. It’s better to leave the national grid to bulk consumers like mines and industry. To connect Chama to the national grid would cost in excess of US$120M, I think the figure stands at US$166M, when a 100megawatt solar farm would be just about US$2.0M. This is what is imported from Malawi. Zesco can’t improve its performance because most of the managers can’t think. They’ve waiting for the World Bank to finance that project for years now. Can’t they think of an alternative?

  3. Ayatollah is right. If you want reliable and affordable power for your office, factory, farm or residence: get your own solar system. No more loadshedding, no more buying of units, absolutely affordable.

  4. Good sentiment by the Minister. It has to be systematically planned. Solar and other alternative sources are the way. One issue you need to note is that you need massive re-training of local electricians in installation and maintenance of these systems. Right now the capacity in this aspect is very very low. You have to travel to Lusaka from wherever you are in the country to get a satisfactory service. There should also be government incentives for small scale invest in solar energy including the selling of surplus energy to the main grid.

  5. Before you even embark on this ask yourself if
    1. Will there be enough generation of power to satisfy demand?
    2. Will people in rural areas afford the high cost of electricity?
    Otherwise you will just end up wasting money putting up infrastructure which will not even be used.

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