ZESCO’S PLANS TO BOOST POWER GENERATION CAPACITY ENERGIZED BY $2 BILLION RENEWABLE INVESTMENT FROM UAE
ZESCO Limited has strategic intent to expand its generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure and has a projected investment of more than US$ 6 billion to actualise these projects during the Strategic Plan Implementation period 2022-2031. The power utility has identified Public Private Partnerships models as a means of expanding and diversifying its power generation portfolio and to be achieved through investments in other renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. The Corporation is therefore appreciative of President Hakainde Hichilema’s support to drive Zambia’s aspirations to increase installed power generation and diversification by promoting partnerships and investments that will see the first ever US $2 billion direct investment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On 17 January 2023, President Hichilema witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a landmark Joint Development Agreement (JDA) between Zambia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to facilitate investment of renewable energy that will help the country actualise long term and permanent solutions to perennial power deficits. The signing ceremony took place in Abu Dhabi during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week held from 16 January to 19 January 2023. The MoU and the JDA is the latest of President Hichilema’s resolve and commitment to deliver practical and transformative solutions to the challenges the country’s electricity sub sector is currently facing. “Partnerships remain a very important component in the agenda for increasing investments in new solar projects and as ZESCO Limited, we look forward to partnering with MASDAR so that we deliver these projects in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said ZESCO Board Chairperson Mr. Vickson Ncube. ZESCO is pursuing increased sources of power to mitigate the challenges of adverse climate change effects that often reduce available water for power generation at various water reservoirs. Despite the over 3, 000-megawatts installed power generating capacity, Zambia’s key generation facilities are predominately hydro-based and prone to reduced generation capacity especially as the negative effects of climate change increasingly reduce the availability of rainfall. ZESCO is currently working to inject 150-MW Solar power into the national grid this year as part of its aggressive plan to deploy 800-MW of new solar PV sources to help increase the robustness of its power generation portfolio by realising an energy mix diversified by source and geographical location. As part of the strategy to install 800-MW of new solar power sources, ZESCO plans to have at least one solar power plant in all the 10 provinces of Zambia. Currently, access to electricity rates in Zambia stands at 45 percent in urban areas and a paltry 5 percent in rural areas in a country with close to 20 million people. From ZESCO’s perspective, such massive investments and partnerships such as the recently signed one with MASDAR will positively impact the country’s quest to increase electrification levels in the country. The investment is a positive step and massive boost in line with the Zambia Power Development Framework which was launched in 2015 with the goal of providing 85% of the population with access to electricity by 2030. ZESCO assures the Government of the Republic and the Zambian people that the national power utility shall work round the clock to ensure this project which is inspired by MASDAR is implemented in the most effective, efficient and timely manner. Ends.