THE reported influx of investors wishing to invest in Zambia’s clean energy sector as indicated by the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) is welcome news because the future of hydro power is uncertain due to climate change.

Climate change effects are responsible for the rapidly drying up of Zambia’s water bodies which have been central for power generation by Zesco for many decades.

Hydropower generates energy from water and any changes in the natural water circle because of climate change will have deleterious impact on power generation.

The effects of climate change on hydropower generation                    are vivid as evidenced by the low water levels at Kariba Dam which have given rise to load shedding, among other setbacks.

Understandably, hydroelectric dams are also a nuisance in that they emit billions tonnes of greenhouse gases yearly that contribute more to global warming than previously estimated.

The impact of hydroelectric energy on environment and consequences of changed water flow as a result of damming,       are all pointers for the need for alternative sources of energy.

This is why news that the country is expecting more investment in clean energy by mid-next year, is heartening as it this is the guaranteed way forward for Zambia.

ZDA acting Director General, Matongo Matamwandi, said Zambia this year received over US$2 billion in investment pledges from the private sector for clean energy development.

Mr Matamwandi explained during ZNBC’s Sunday interview that the pledges were expected to be actualised by mid next year.

 “I think in 2021 and 2022 we should be able to be talking about a lot of clean energy coming like solar, wind and so on,” he said.

We believe this development is significant and everything should be done to ensure the pledges are fully actualised. This what citizens expect – news that at least gives them hope.

Right now it’s common knowledge that load shedding has dealt a regrettable blow on the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, among others, rendering a serious knock-on-effect on the economy.

Pitiful situation indeed, but these are the consequences of over depending on hydro-power, and a sign that time has come to invest in other sources of clean energy.

Even the recently reported multi- million dollar wind energy plant planned for Katete, Eastern Province to generate 200MW is another constructive move in the right direction

Small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) which are the engines of the economy have equally not been spared as continue to suffer production challenges due to fitful power supply. This should not be the case.

For now, Zambia should forsake its strong belief in hydropower and seriously consider investing more in alternative clean sources of energy.

While we appreciate Government’s plan to import power from South Africa’s power company Eskom, the reality is that this is not the ultimate solution.

Put simply, the panacea to the energy crisis the country is experiencing, lies in investing more in alternative sources of clean energy – this is the way to go!

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