Switch to renewable energy, Mwaanga advises Zesco

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LINDA SOKO TEMBO Writes

VETERAN politician and former diplomat Vernon Mwaanga has advised Zesco Limited not to depend on hydropower because it is no longer a viable or realistic option in the 21st century.

Dr Mwaanga said there was a need for the utility to plan outside the box and come up with viable and workable energy options for the future.

He said in a statement if the country was going to continue growing the economy and catering for an ever growing population there was need to do more to attract investment in the renewable energy sector.

Dr Mwaanga said Zambia had an abundance of sunshine most of the year, which could be produced as energy.

“We should also speed up the issue of unbundling Zesco Limited so that we separate generation from supplying like many countries have done. There may be need to provide incentives to local and foreign companies willing to invest in this sector up to a certain number of years,” he said.

Dr Mwaanga said many African countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania were now reaping the benefits of attracting investment in the renewable energy sector.

He said one thing load shedding had taught the nation was that there was need to save energy switching off electric appliances and lights people did not need.

Dr Mwaanga said public awareness should become more widespread.

He said because of the insufficient rainfall Zambia experienced in some parts of the country last rainy season, to enable the Kariba Dam hydro power station  and other hydro stations around the country to generate enough power for the mining, business, and commercial enterprises  as well as residential areas load shedding was inevitable.

“Zesco has had no choice, given this scenario, but to hopefully evenly and fairly load shed their customers in an effort to keep our homes lit and the wheels of industry turning.

“It also critically important for Zesco to strictly adhere to its advertised schedules like Eskom does in South Africa. It makes it a little easier and more bearable for business enterprises and households to plan,” he said.

Dr Mwaanga said load shedding was a nuisance just as it was grossly inconvenient and that it was a sign that energy was in very short supply everywhere and answers had not been easy to come by.

 He said Zambia had been talking about the problem of energy deficit for many years and renewable energy was the answer from solar, garbage waste or other forms.

“Unfortunately, talking alone without taking practical steps is not enough.  We are fortunate that some of our progressive and foresighted companies like Maamba Coal Mine, Ndola Energy Company and Dangote, to mention only some, have been involved in generation production, which has supplemented Zesco’s efforts,” he said.  Zesco has announced that it will have to ration the supply of electricity to mitigate the deficit caused by the drop in the levels of water at the Kariba Dam, the source of the bulk of the country’s power.

The low water levels are a result of the drought that hit the southern part of Zambia in the last rainy season.

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