Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary Brigadier General Emelda Chola says the procurement process for the 100 megawatts solar photovoltaics (PV) has progressed.

She has, however, not disclosed how many bids have so far been received for the project.

Government recently embarked on a strategic partnership with KFW to implement the GETFitT programme as an innovative initiative which will result in the development of up to 200 MW of renewable energy, to be implemented in two phases.

The 100 MW mini-hydro tender is under the Global Energy Transfer Feed in Tariff (GETFiT) Zambia programme which is a partnership between the Ministry of Energy and the German Development Bank (KFW).

Speaking at the GETFiT 100 MW hydro tender pre-bid meeting in Lusaka at the weekend, Brig Gen Chola said the 200 MW of renewable energy would be implemented in two phases – first the 100 MW of solar PV while the second phase involved the procurement of 100 MW of small hydros.

“In order to enhance the contribution of renewable energy to the power mix, government has made several strides such as the development of the renewable energy feed in tariff strategy to remove barriers to investments in the renewable energy sector. Government’s objective in line with the national energy policy is to increase the utilisation of renewable energy sources by addressing the barriers to their wider dissemination and deployment. The 100 MW GETFiT small hydro tender will support the development of small hydro projects up to 20 MW of installed capacity,” Brig Gen Chola said.

She said the tender process would include a pre-qualification procedure followed by up to three successive request proposal windows between 2019 and 2020 to award the full 100 MW of capacity allocated to this.

“Through collaborative interventions, a framework to streamline procurement and development process have been developed to ensure private sector participation. Government is undertaking energy sector reforms and initiatives to address some of the challenges that have been barriers to private sector investments in the power sector,” said Brig Gen Chola.

And speaking at the same event, German Embassy Head of Cooperation Christi Ritz underscored the need for government to give a clear policy guidance and a healthy off-take in encouraging the private sector to invest in Zambia.

He also said Germany would support the Zambian government’s effort to introduce an energy reform roadmap, with initial focus on strengthening Zesco’s financial standing.

“We urge the Government of Zambia to tackle challenges facing Zambia’s power sector and to issue a public announcement about the energy reform roadmap. Doing so will provide a positive signal to investors,” said Ritz.