Zambia’s Government has recently announced that seven energy companies have been shortlisted for the installation of photovoltaic (PV) projects in two different zones of the…
Of the total installed Electricity Generation Capacity of Zambia of 2,347 MW, hydropower is the most important energy source in the country with 2,259 MW (96%), followed by diesel contributing about 4% to the national energy supply.
There currently are three main electricity companies in Zambia: The state-owned ZESCO, the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC:LUSE) and the Lusemfwa Electricity Company.
Zambia demand for energy has been rising due to robust GDP growth of more than 6% per year for the past decade in the country, particularly in the mining, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
According to the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), the demand for electricity in the country has been growing at an average of about 3%, or between 150 and 200 MW, each year.
Given these factors, the demand for electricity in the country is expected to exceed 2,000 MW by the year 2015.
However, there has not been any major addition to the country’s generation capacity in the last 20-30 years despite a growing demand for power over the years.
Zambia is also part of the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP), in which the annual electricity consumption reaches 50,000 MW per year, with an installed capacity of 55,000MW.
The annual growth rate of overall electric power consumption in the SAPP averages 5% per annum, and the regional demand is likely to reach 80,000 MW per annum by 2015.
With 40% of the water resources in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Zambia has about 6,000 MW unexploited hydropower potential, while only about 2,259 MW (37%) has been developed.
In addition to water reserves, Zambia has abundant renewable and non-renewable energy resources, including:
– Industrial minerals such as coal
– Agricultural land to support bio-fuels
– Ample forest for biomass
– Abundant wind for wind energy
– Long and intense hours of annual sunlight to support solar energy generation.
Zambia Petroleum Demand and Supply
Zambia is self-sufficient in all its energy sources with the exception of petroleum, which contributes about 9% to the national’s total energy requirements, particularly in the agriculture, transport, and mining sectors.
According to ZDA the Zambian demand for petrol is around 52 million litres per month and the demand is projected to grow at average of about 40% per year.
The country imports all its petroleum requirements through the 1,705 km long TAZAMA Pipelines, owned by the Governments of Zambia (67%) and Tanzania (33%).
The oil is then refined at the INDENI Refinery in Ndola (Copperbelt Province), with a current capacity of 850,000 metric tons per year, which is jointly owned by the Government of Zambia and an international oil company, Total Outre Mer.
The 21 Oil Marketing Companies (OMC’s) currently registered in Zambia then take the finished products from the Ndola Fuel Terminal to sell them.
Zambia, which had undertaken unsuccessful oil and gas exploration initiatives between 1986 and 1991, recently launched new explorations covering parts of the North-Western, Western and Eastern Provinces.
Those explorations, using the Microbial Prospecting for Oil and Gas technique, indicated that the Okavango and North Luangwa basins have potential for oil and gas.
Zambia Coal Demand & Supply
The current estimated demand for local coal is about 240,000 tonnes per annum.
Major domestic customers include the copper mines, the brewery companies, tobacco farmers, and manufacturers.
Zambia’s current proven coal deposits are located in the Southern Province and estimated to carry around 80 million tonnes of coal.
Zambia currently has two coal mines: the major one being the former state owned Maamba Collieries Limited, and the other being Collum Coal Mine, both in the Southern Province.
Other probable coal reserves are in Luangwa North, Luano, Lukusashi in the Luangwa Valley and Kahare, Chunga and Lubaba in the Western Province, estimated to carry a total of around 700 million tonnes.
Despite large reserves, Zambia has no coal fired plants.
The current export market is estimated at 15,000 tonnes per month to Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Malawi.
With the regional power deficit, Coal could become a major source of power generation especially with improved and more efficient generation technology.
Zambia Biofuels Demand & Supply
The Zambia Ministry of Energy and Water Development (MEWD) estimates that about 84 million litres of bio-diesel and about 40 million litres of bio-ethanol are required by the country per annum.
Zambia has a capacity to produce biofuels. However, given the limited quantities produced and relative novelty of the industry, blending with petrol and crop husbandry is not possible yet.
Jatropha, with about 6,000 hectares of land under production, is the most common bio-fuel in the country. A number of companies are now producing electricity from bagasse, which is a by-product of sugar production.
Projections show that only 11% of Zambia’s arable land (about 46,000 square Km) would be required to satisfy the country’s diesel consumption of 360 million litres per annum with bio-diesel.
In order to enhance the Biofuels sub-sector, the Zambian Government is in process of making it a priority sector so that investors can benefit from ZDA incentives such as tax waivers on capital equipment.
Zambia Renewable Energy
Zambia Solar Energy
Zambia has an average of 2,000-3,000 hours of sunshine per year but solar power (photovoltaic energy) penetration has remained relatively low due to high initial cost.
The solar power or photovoltaic (PV) market remains dominated by Government, NGO and donor funded projects, with the World Bank (WB) being the largest financing agency in the sector.
Annual sales are in the range of USD 2 million to USD 3 million, with 70% being donor-financed projects.
Zambia Wind Energy
According to the ZDA report, wind energy in Zambia is relatively low with wind data collected at 10 meters per second (m/s) above the ground indicating speeds of between 0.1 to 3.5 meters per second with an annual average of 2.5 m/s.
These wind speeds are not suitable for electricity generation, but are for water pumping for household use and irrigation purposes.
There are specific areas where wind regimes are said to be as high as 6 m/s in the Western Province for Zambia.
The Zambia Department of Energy has plans to develop a wind atlas to identify areas where electricity could be generated.
Zambia Geothermal Energy
Zambia has more than 80 hot springs, of which 35 were rated high in terms of surface temperature, flow rate, proximity to power lines, as well as ease of access and relative energy potential.
These springs have not been tapped for industrial or energy provision purposes, due to high costs.
There currently is only one small geothermal generation plant in Zambia, the Kapisya hot springs, which was installed following an initiative from the Italian Government in the mid 1980s and 2 x 120 KW turbines were installed in 1987.
Recent estimates indicate that the plant can be upgraded to produce 2 MW of electricity. Efforts are now being made by ZESCO to revive the plant, but is pending for the government to make the 22 km access road an all weather road so that construction can start.
In terms of mini/micro-hydro power, Zambia has a number of potential sites on smaller rivers suitable for local small-scale power generation especially in the Northern and the North-Western parts of the country because of their topography, the geology of the ground, and the highest rainfall in the country.
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