hydroelectric power
Zambia’s energy minister is urging latent IPPs to finish implementing the long overdue mini-hydro power projects

In Southern Africa, Zambian Energy and Water Development Minister Dora Siliya has confirmed that the government is considering cancelling concessions for mini-hydro power site projects that have not been implemented over a long period.

Siliya told the Times of Zambia that Zambia’s current power deficit will not improve if the implementation of projects for mini-hydro power development is not expedited.

“I have instructed officials in the ministry to follow up on all the outstanding projects. There are some concessions that have been standing for mini-hydro power sites and I intend to cancel them and give them to others,” Siliya said.

Energy sector in need of investment

The minister highlighted that there is need for investment into the energy sector, while expressing disappointment over the on-going talks for diversification into alternative sources of energy such as solar and other renewable sources.

Siliya added: “Solar energy has been a topic for the last two years. We need to expedite these processes so that we can reduce the deficit.”

She then gave a deadline of 30 November, 2015 to four companies that had expressed interest in engaging in renewable sources of energy to begin the implementation process, stating that her ministry was going to take a leading role in expediting the agreements.

Diesel-powered plants: temporary solution

Meanwhile, Siliya gave an insight into government’s plans for next year, which includes putting in place up to four temporary Heavy Fuel Oils power plants in selected parts of the country to mitigate the current power deficit the country is facing.

She said the four diesel-powered plants will be temporary and will operate for a year.

“We advertised for four diesel-powered plants to be put up next year and act as an emergency solution for power since we are currently experiencing load-shedding as a result of low water levels in the Kariba dam,” she said.