The Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry – ZACCI notes that Zambia has potential in Solar Energy resource, Wind, Hydro run off the river especially in the Northern circuit that is not so much prone to reduced precipitation, Geothermal & Biomass, thus the need for utilization as an alternative energy source especially now with the re-introduction of loadshedding.
ZACCI President Chabuka Kawesha said that some of the Potential developers of these energy projects have already advanced in conducting the feasibility studies and almost reaching financial close as monitored by the Ministry of Energy through the Office for Promoting Private Power Investment (OPPPI).
Mr Kawesha however stated that regardless of the well-intended announcements to have these on board, without a clear pathway for electricity Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to enter into bankable power purchase agreement and sell their power to a buyer or off taker at a Cost-reflective tariff, the country is likely to see long unwinding load shedding seasons, year-on-year given the negative effective because of climate change and poor rainy seasons resulting in the reported low water levels from the current hydro-power generation spots.
He mentioned that the Minister’s statement mentions the scaling up of the power generation mix by accelerating the development of alternative green and renewable energy sources, including the projects such as 6 Solar PV procured under GET FiT Zambia and the recently ZESCO-advertised 3 X 50MW solar power plant initiatives, adding that given the successful procurement of projects under GET FiTand Scaling Solar, the Government before year-end 2022 or latest Quarter 1 of 2023 must open a framework that will allow for the procurement of more power projects from private sector Independent Power Producers (IPPs) using a similar grant-aided approach that will allow for competition and low-cost procurement windows.
He added that ZESCO including other Stakeholders who have expressed interest to invest in the electricity sub-sector like Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) trading Zambia Power Corporation (ZPC) and ZCCM-IH should mirror this approach, as this will help to provide the electricity private sector IPPs with certainty on how their projects could be implemented over the next 3 to 24 months. This will also help to reduce the development costs and encourage investment as IPPs will have certainty on how their respective projects will unfold.
“The roll-out of an intermediary or transitional high capacity transmission line investment programme through Public Private Partnership (PPP) approved by Cabinet with a bias towards Engineering Procurement Construction Plus Finance (EPC+F) model; given the transmission and power line developers will be guaranteed of anchor-tenants from the numerous power generation Independent Power Producers (IPP) located countrywide that will come out of the electricity procurement roadmap. Parts of the current national network of transmission lines are tired or need enhancement. They need new investment,” he explained
Mr Kawesha mentioned that as policymakers and private sector contributors, they ought to be mindful that the current commissioned power station at Kafue Gorge Lower with the name plate value of 750MW was designed to operate at an average capacity of 380 – 400MW, however with the current scenario of reduced inflows and overutilization in the Kariba, ZESCO may be forced if not already done, to over generate at Kafue gorge and Kafue Gorge Lower.
“The over-generation will ultimately cause a drastic reduction in water levels at Kafue Gorge dam and Itezhi-TezhiDam. Further, the national utility, ZESCO, we understand that as the private sector we need to revise the water release program and quantity from Itezhi-Tezhi Dam after a serious review to avoid over flooding of the Kafue flats and other surrounding areas. Kariba dam is strained, let’s not introduce a crisis on the Kafue river,” he mentioned
Mr Kawesha stated that ZACCI will continue with consultations on the impact of current load shedding but over and above on short, medium and long-term solutions to increase electricity power generation and improvement of the nationwide transmission network.