$300 solar power plant earmarked for Kazungula

NANCY MWAPE, Livingstone
GIWU Investment Limited, a local firm, has invested over US$300 million in solar energy power plant to be located in Kazungula district to mitigate the current load-shedding due to the power deficit.
Company chairman Richman Njovu said the project, to be implemented in the first quarter of next year, will generate 100 megawatts of electricity and create over 2,000 jobs.
In an interview, Mr Njovu, who is working with South African partners, said he was excited at the huge project that will help in mitigating load shedding.
“Several Zambian investors are ready to invest in renewable sources of energy, but Government has to create a conducive environment for private sector participation,” he said.
Mr Njovu, however, bemoaned the high charges by Zambia Environmental Management Agency to conduct an environmental impact assessment review and high cost for land title fees charged by the Ministry of Lands.
He appealed to Government to come up with special preferential treatment that will allow Zambian investors, especially the small-scale and medium entrepreneurs, to venture into solar energy.
He also said low electricity tariffs have been a major challenge, discouraging investments in the energy sector.
“I agree with President Lungu that electricity tariffs in Zambia are very low and discourage investors. It would be better if Government removed subsidies on electricity to allow for cost-reflective tariffs, lure investors in the power sector and, ultimately, address the electricity load-shedding that is the order of the day,” Mr Njovu said.
He urged Government to support Zambian investors that are ready to kick-start solar projects in the country.
Mr Njovu said solar investment in Southern Province will help to ease deforestation, which is on the increase, as people seek cheap energy through the use of charcoal.
The project was initiated in 2010 with partners from South Africa, and all the necessary investment licenses have been acquired.

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