West, East in power boost

GOVERNMENT and the Western Power Company have signed an agreement to facilitate the construction of Ngonye Falls Hydro Electric Scheme, which will generate 60 megawatts (mw).
The US$200 million project, to be undertaken in Senanga and Sioma districts of Western Province, will bolster the faltering electricity supply due to power deficit.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development Emelda Chola signed on behalf of Government, while Western Power Company chairman Sipho Phiri represented the company.
Brigadier-General Chola said in view of the current power deficit and the load shedding the country is experiencing, the project will provide a sustainable source of electricity and stimulate socio-economic development through job creation during and after construction.
The Ngonye Falls Power Station will be the first hydropower station to be developed in Western Province.
Gen Chola said concerted efforts between the private sector and government are important in the development and investment in alternative and sustainable energy that will drive industrial, economic and social development.
And Mr Phiri said it is a clear demonstration of the Zambian private sector’s commitment and ability to work with Government to deliver new power infrastructure in Zambia.
“We will develop a sustainable, renewable, clean, efficient and cost-effective source of electricity that will help alleviate some of the pressure on the current supply. In addition, we have established a unique and innovative partnership with the community in Western Province,” Mr Phiri said.
Meanwhile, a South Africa-based company has expressed interest to invest US$250 million into a 600mw capacity solar energy plant in Eastern province, MAYENGO NYIRENDA reports in Chipata.
Edison Power Group general manager Zahir Wadvalla said once the company is set up, it will help to cushion the power deficit that has rocked the country.
Mr Wadvalla said this in Chipata on Wednesday when he paid a courtesy call on Eastern Province deputy permanent secretary Patrick Mwanawasa.
Mr Wadvalla said his company is currently looking for land in the province where the solar power plant will be constructed.
He expressed happiness at the overwhelming support the chiefs in the province have shown and their willingness to offer land for the project.
Mr Wadvalla said the project is expected to create between 500 and 1,000 jobs for the local people once in operation.
And Mr Mwanawasa said the solar plant will not only help mitigate the power deficit, but also protect jobs that are threatened due to the energy crisis.
He said Government would work with any company that has an agenda of reducing poverty levels in the province through job creation.
Mr Mwanawasa said he was happy that local people, especially the youth, would benefit from the jobs the company will create.

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