ZAMBIA’S Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (REFIT) mechanism, a policy to facilitate for private investment in the energy and mitigate challenges in the power sector, is expected to be operational in two months time, the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has said.
Meanwhile, the United States government has reaffirmed its commitment to helping Zambia achieve energy security.
ERB director for economic regulation Alfred Mwila said yesterday during the REFIT workshop in Lusaka that the policy to regulate investment in energy and subsequently improve energy security was expected to be operational in two months.
For more than a year now, ERB, the Ministry of Energy and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with other stakeholders among them Zesco and the Rural Electrification Authority had been working on developing the REFIT policy.
The policy’s objective was to achieve 100 mega watts of hydro power and 50 mega watts of non-hydro power in three years through private investment.
The policy would regulate standards, licensing and tariffs.
“After we get the feedback, the policy agreement could be developed in two months time. Before the end of the year, we could have investors coming to invest in the renewable energy sector,” Mr Mwila said.
Deputy Energy Minister Charles Zulu said Government would soon adopt the REFIT policy.
Mr Zulu said the development of the REFIT policy came at an appropriate time when Zambia was facing a power deficit.
He said a diversified renewable energy sector would play a critical part in providing alternative sources of power in the country’s energy sector.
Zambia had sufficient energy sources such as solar and various water bodies that could turn it into an energy exporter.
“We are committed to collaborate with anyone who will develop initiatives that will diversify the country’s electricity generation and increase available power capacity,” he said.
USAID Zambia deputy mission director Patrick Diskin said the country needed the private sector to invest in the energy sector to mitigate loadshedding.
Mr Diskin said for the private sector to participate, there was need for favourable tariffs and proper regulations that REFIT would provide.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz said in a statement yesterday that the American government was committed to supporting Zambia in improving the renewable energy sector.
He said the adoption of an effective REFIT policy and its finalisation would enable Government buy renewable energy from small-scale independent power producers at pre-determined prices.