On Tuesday, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Zambian Ministry of Mines, Energy, and Water Development marked the final stages in the development of Zambia’s Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (REFIT) mechanism, the Lusaka Times reported.
Over the past 14-months USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, the Zambian Department of Energy, and the Energy Regulation Board (ERB), worked together to produce an inclusive policy document and develop a platform for the REFIT.
The process included collaboration with multiple energy sector stakeholders, including the Rural Electrification Authority and ZESCO, Zambia's state-owned power company responsible for generation, transmission and distribution.
Feed-in tariff mechanism
The adoption of an effective renewable energy feed-in tariff policy and finalisation of the feed-in tariff regulations will enable the Zambian government to buy renewable energy from small-scale independent power producers at pre-determined prices.
A successful REFIT mechanism will also help reduce price volatility and increase renewable energy uptake in Zambia, the Lusaka Times reported.
Zambia is endowed with a wide range of energy resources particularly solar, biomass, hydro, and other renewable sources that are still largely untapped. As such, renewable energy development has great potential to help meet growing demand for electricity.
The renewable energy feed-in tariff mechanism will help create an enabling environment for both the public and private sectors to invest in renewable energy expansion in Zambia.
Increased private sector engagement required
US Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz said: “Endowed with abundant sunshine and water resources, Zambia has excellent potential to provide enough clean energy for the country’s growing needs, and even for export, but getting there will require greater private sector investment.”
Schultz added: “Through the Power Africa Initiative...our government is committed to continuing to support efforts to develop clean renewable power, and to achieve energy security for all Zambians.”
USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub’s clean energy assistance in Zambia and the region works to improve regional capacity for energy sector policymaking and implementation, to develop regulatory frameworks for private sector participation in energy generation, and to increase private sector investment in clean energy generation and transmission.