Investors urged to exploit biomass industry

RURAL Electrification Authority (REA) chief executive officer Geoffrey Musonda has urged investors to explore biomass as the country aspires to diversify sources of energy.
Mr Musonda said with an installed capacity of  2.15 million, an opportunity has been presented for investors to explore biomass, which is fuel that is developed from organic materials, a renewable and sustainable source of energy used to create electricity or other forms of power.
He said at the ongoing Africa- European Union Energy Partnership Forum that, if exploited, the country can produce 498 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
Currently, Zambia Sugar produces 20 megawatts while Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) is exploring possibilities of developing a 1MW  power station.
At the same occasion, the European Union (EU) said the recently signed €40 million increased access to electricity and renewable energy production programme will go a long way in unlocking Zambia’s energy generation potential and address the current sector challenges.
EU head of infrastructure Adam Grodzicki said the programme signed in November last year, which will run for a period of four years, will enable public institutions to revise and develop the legal and regulatory framework in support of sector reforms.
The development will also support the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency throughout the country.
“The programme will also result in building capacity of the public and private stakeholders to ensure adequate know-how transfer and skills development,” Mr Grodzicki said.
The grant will further support demonstration projects to promote sustainable business models for renewable energy solutions, primarily in rural areas.
He said the EU remains committed to supporting the transformation of Zambia’s energy sector, pledging to provide about €244 million between 2014- 20.
“More than half of these resources have already been allocated to two large-scale infrastructure projects that we are supporting,  jointly with other development partners, Kariba Dam rehabilitation project and Lusaka Transmission and Distribution Rehabilitation Project,” he said.

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