MINISTER of Energy and Water Development Dora Siliya has called on financial institutions to play an active role in financing power generation projects to cushion the energy crisis that has hit the country.
Ms Siliya said in Kitwe yesterday that financial institutions are critical to the development of the energy sector.
She said the institutions should provide funding to local and foreign investors to undertake power generation projects.
Ms Siliya said the energy crisis Zambia is facing requires the full participation of the private sector, for the country to meet the current 700 megawatt deficit and reduce the cost of doing business.
She said the country’s power deficit is expected to increase to 1,000 megawatts by the end of this year because of poor rainfall, which has caused a drastic drop of water levels.
Ms Siliya was speaking at Kitwe’s Moba Hotel at a power crisis and energy demand side management meeting.
“The energy crisis is real. This is not a time for a blame game. It is a national emergency. Investment in backbone infrastructure is critical to address this crisis. We need to invest in renewable energy, especially solar. We have been extremely dependent on hydro power.
“We are looking for other sources to generate electricity. Financial institutions will have to play an active role in financing power generations projects,” Ms Siliya said.
She said power problems have affected the mines and triggered an increase in the prices of essential commodities and that she is currently exploring ways of speeding up power purchasing and implementation agreements.
Ms Siliya urged Zesco management to rehabilitate and expand the national grid network to enable it to accommodate all the power that will be generated from the thermal, solar and hydro-power projects being undertaken countrywide.
She said about 10 hydro-power sites have been identified in Luapula and Northern provinces for long-term investments in electricity generation and that they need urgent foreign and local investments.
Zambia is currently importing 148 megawatts of power from Mozambique.