BUMBA CHIMBULU writes
ABOUT 88 MegaWatts of power is expected to be injected into the national grid by Ngonye and Bangweulu Solar Power plants once completed, the Energy Regulation board (ERB) has said.
The Ngonye project will be constructed by Western Power Company in Western Province while Bangweulu is being managed by Neoen’s Zambian local unit at the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone.
ERB in its Energy Sector report for 2018 said construction works for 54 MegaWatts (MW) Bangweulu and 34 MW Ngonye solar power plants had reached advanced stages in 2018, with 80 and 60 percent of the works completed, respectively.
Once commissioned, ERB said, the solar plants were expected to supply ZESCO with solar electricity at US$6.015 cents a kilowatt per hour US$7.84 cents /kWh over the period of the power supply agreements.
“Together, these two plants are expected to inject a total of about 88 MW into the grid out of the 600 MW that was part of the directive by the President Edgar Lungu in his capacity as Chairperson of the Industrial Development Corporation, following the energy deficit crisis in 2015,” said ERB.
The board said Zambia in 2018 continued to make progress towards the implementation of strategies and programs that promoted cleaner and affordable electricity.
ERB explained that this was consistent with the transformations in the global energy sector, electricity investment shifted towards renewable energy, taking the market share away from coal and natural gases in 2018.
“In accordance with the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development10, most countries globally are shifting to cleaner and affordable electricity.
“Some initiatives in Zambia included the scaling solar programme, the Renewable Energy Feed-In-Tariff. Strategy, banning of incandescent bulbs and import duty waiver on selected solar systems,” said the board.