The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) has advised government to get energy generation right if Zambia is to fulfill its potential for growth as demand for electricity supply continues to grow.
In a statement, PMRC executive director Bernadette Deka Zulu noted that there was need for government to come up with a renewable energy master plan to actualize the aspect of a viable energy mix for Zambia.
“An adequate power supply underpins any successful economy. However, Zambia has struggled to generate enough electricity to meet growing demand as the country has developed. This longstanding issue came to a head in 2015/16 and now in 2019 when poor rains depleted the hydroelectric power stations, which provide over 83 per cent of Zambia’s power. The ensuing load-shedding in 2015/16 and 2019 has had severe consequences for the economy, as businesses scale back production, small-to-medium sized enterprises struggle and households experience blackouts. As demand continues to grow, it is essential that Zambia gets energy generation right if the country is to fulfill its potential for growth. PMRC has long been an advocate of a renewable energy master plan to actualize the aspect of a viable energy mix for Zambia. Indeed, massive opportunities for diversification do exist in solar and geothermal energy,” Zulu stated.
She added that Zambia’s power supply would remain vulnerable to seasonal rain patterns and long-term climate change if there was no meaningful diversification of power sources effected.
“The Zambian government in its efforts to mitigate demand for power has embarked on demand-side management measures through the modification of consumer demand for power using various methods, such as financial incentives for using energy efficient equipment and behavioural change through education. Alternative energy sources, government has zero-rated the supply of gas stoves, other gas cookers and gas boilers. To ensure that this measure is a success, there is need to engage with gas supply companies so as to have the commodity affordable to most citizens and to allay safety concerns to the supply companies. These measures, if correctly implemented, will help mitigate the power deficit in the medium-term, while the country strives to increase and diversify its power sector portfolio,” stated Zulu, who also called on various stakeholders to submit viable suggestions and recommendations that would expedite the mitigation of the current power deficit being experienced in Zambia.
Zambia’s power deficit currently stands at 872 megawatts, up from 700 megawatts earlier this year.