MINISTER of Energy and Water Development Dora Siliya says experts have projected that it will take about three years of good rainfall for the Kariba Dam to get back to the required water levels for power generation.
Ms Siliya said during the Sunday Interview programme on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) television that Government has put in place measures to address the power deficit.
“We initiated plans in October to have inland generation in the country where a number of power plants will be established in Lusaka, Copperbelt and North-Western provinces that will provide 200 to 300 megawatts of power,” Ms Siliya said.
She said the power at the plants will be generated by diesel and kerosene.
The minister said Zambia already started importing power from Mozambique in anticipation that it may take a long time for the Kariba dam to be filled.
Ms Siliya explained that Government spends US$13.1 million every month on the importation of power from Mozambique.
“We also just finished arrangements through Zesco with another company to import more power through Mozambique on a ship that will dock in Mozambique for a year,” she said.
Ms Siliya said this power will be supplied through the interconnector in Mozambique to Zambia.
She also said through the Mozambican utility company, Government will import another 150 megawatts (MW) from Mozambique.
“We are hoping by the end of this month, we are going to give about four to five licences to solar promoters to establish solar plants so that by October 2016, we can get at least an extra 200 megawatts from solar,” the minister said.
She said in an effort to attract investments in the electricity sector, Zesco has made tariff proposals after holding public hearings advertised through the Energy Regulation Board (ERB).
“I am waiting to hear the recommendations that have been made by the public, Zesco and ultimately by the ERB on some of the ways that can enhance the sector,” she said.
The minister said over 700,000 people are supplied with electricity in the country and that 8,000 people monthly apply to have power supplied to their homes.
Ms Siliya also observed Zambia every year uses about 20 to 25 billion cubic metres of the water for power generation in a good year, but that this has reduced to 10 billion cubic metres of water because of low water levels in reservoirs for power generation.
“Hydropower is what has sustained this country for a long time in terms of electricity generation. The country is sitting on a potential of over 6,000 megawatts, which needs to be exploited in more hydropower in Batoka and Luapula,” the minister said.
She said what is required is to expedite investment into these proposed hydropower stations.
Electricity demand in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region has risen by 32 percent to 54,000 megawatt (MW) over the last decade, further widening the energy deficit at a time when there is limited investment in the sector, says Musara Beta , Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) chief market analyst.
“Demand has been growing at an unprecedented average of three percent per annum due to rapid economic growth in most countries,” Beta said.
This is contained in an article titled: ‘Renewable energy: the way to go for SADC region,’ which was published recently.