1. PROJECT BACKGROUND
The Zambian Government has embarked on some Renewable Energy Based Electricity Generation for Mini-Grids in Zambia. Shiwang’andu Mini Hydropower Project in Chinsali District is one such Project that identified and is being co-financed by ZESCO Ltd (93%) and the Global Environmental Facility GEF (7%). The Project is being coordinated by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Like other Renewable Energy Based Electricity Generation for Mini-Grids Projects indentified in the country, it is intended to contribute to the rural development through provision of reliable and affordable environmentally friendly electricity through the programme of Rural Electrification Authority (REA).
The Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contract for the development of the Shiwang’andu was awarded to International Centre on Small (IC-SHP) of China
The Contractor mobilized to site in April 2011 and construction works have since been in progress. The plant is scheduled for commissioning in April 2012.
2. PROJECT SCOPE
The main includes construction of:
- A run-of-river, 2 x 500 kW plant
- Complete water intake structures
- A 33 kV distribution line, medium voltage lines and substations.
- Office buildings.
- Six (6) housing units for operations and maintenance staff
3. PROJECT OBJECTIVES
The primary objectives of the project include:
- To help reduce the global green house gas (GHG) emission by promoting renewable energy based mini-grids for rural electrification in Zambia.
- It is the desire of The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Ministry of Land Energy and Water Development and ZESCO to facilitate/create new opportunities for improved rural economy.
- To provide power supply and have a multiplier effect through other economic activities that could greatly contribute towards poverty reduction in Zambia.
- To promote development of more mini-hydro power stations in other isolated areas for communities and innovative individuals.
The initial scheduled Project completion time was twelve (12) months effective from the project start date. However, owing to some challenges faced the re-location of Power House site due to poor soil stability and also the onset of the rain season, the completion date was revised to April 2012
4. BENEFITS OF THE PROJECT
The community of Shiwang’andu area will derive some of the following benefits from the project:
- Improved health services as rural health centres will be electrified.
- Improved water sanitation as pumped water reticulation system will be possible.
- Improved education and literacy levels as schools will be electrified.
- Creation of employment.
- Attraction of investment in the area such as tourism that will create more jobs.
- Improved communication system.
- Quality of life will improve.
As part of UNIDO’s commitment to ensure the project is on course, UNIDO Chief of Rural Renewable Energy Dr. Diego Masera was recently in the country to check on the progress made so far.
Speaking after a tour of Shiwang’andu Mini Hydro Power Station on 2nd December 2011, Dr. Masera expressed happiness on the progress made so far and appreciated the commitment shown by the Zambian Government and its people in issues of development.
“We as United Nations, our role is to support Government on the development policies and we see renewable energy as a centre for sustainable development. So if ZESCO and the Government of Zambia want us to continue supporting them, we are more than happy and we will be glad to continue supporting developmental projects” said Dr. Masera.
Dr. Masera said renewable energy is very secure adding that UNIDO will continue supporting renewable energy for the benefit of the rural community.
The UNIDO Chief was accompanied to Shiwangandu by ZESCO Managing Director Mr. Cyprian Chitundu, Divisional Manager North, Mr. Dennis Banda, Senior Manager Generation Projects Mr. Samuel Sinkala, Project Coordinator Mr. Geoffrey Musonda and UNIDO Project Assistant Mrs. Brenda Mukalula-Tembo. ZESCO Managing Director Mr. Cyprian Chitundu paid glowing tribute to UNIDO for its support to ZESCO’s rural electrification programme aimed at increasing access to electricity for all nationals.
He said the power utility’s idea of constructing mini hydro power stations is part of the Government’s policy of increasing access to electricity to ultimately improve the wellbeing of people’s lives in rural areas.
“The idea of this power station is to supply power locally in Shiwang’andu and the surrounding areas. It will work as an isolated mini grid and we will connect to the schools, clinics, the lodges and the farms and essentially we are going to bring development to this area” Mr. Chitundu said.
Mr. Chitundu expressed gratitude to government for its continued support to ZESCO aimed at improving electricity power supply in the country thereby improving the lives of the Zambian people.
“This is essentially as it should be, we have had so many problems of power supply in Zambia and currently we have had power cuts because we have run out of capacity. We are producing about 1800 Mega Watts of power the whole country but in the last 40 years we have not built a new power station in this country, so this is the first power station going to be completed ahead of the Kariba North Bank Extension which is a 360 MW power station” said Mr. Chitundu.
Mr. Chitundu, who expressed satisfaction with the works so far, said ZESCO will replicate similar developments in other rural areas in order to attract development in these areas.The Managing Directors said the power utility firm is determined to increase access to electricity in rural areas from the current 3 percent to 50 percent in line with government’s vision 2030.
He said under the increased Access to Electricity project, said ZESCO will go into villages and connect at least a bulb to each household wherever electricity transmission lines passes at a subsidized cost.