Three sites identified for renewable energy

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has identified three project sites for the implementation of renewable Energy-Based Electricity Generation project in Zambia.

The project is aimed at helping in reducing Green House Gas emissions by promoting renewable energy based mini-grids for rural electrification in the country.

Renewable Energy-Based Electricity Generation for Isolated Mini Grids Project Coordinator Geoffrey Musonda disclosed at a press briefing in Lusaka today that the three projects sites include Shiwang’andu in Chinsali District for a one megawatt mini hydro mini-grid.

Mr Musonda named the other two sites as Kaputa in Kaputa District for another one megawatt biomass gasification mini grid and Chinsanka in Samfya District for 36 kilowatt solar mini grid.

He disclosed that the grids would be local grids and will not be connected to the electricity national grid.

He further disclosed that UNIDO has reached an agreement with the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) to develop and finance the mini hydro power and biomass gasification mini grids.

Mr Musonda also revealed that his organization was finalizing an agreement with one of its stakeholders to develop the solar mini grid at Chinsanka in Samfya.

He said the project is expected to gobble US $ 12 million instead of the initial approved budget of US$ 7.5 million because of inflation.

The Project Coordinator explained that studies conducted during the project preparation stage reviewed that one of the barriers inhibiting the proliferation of renewable energy projects in Zambia was the lack of financing mechanisms.

He said it was for this reason that the project decided to set up a Risk Replication Management Fund (RRFM) which is been managed by the Development Bank of Zambia in order to remove or easy this barrier.

Mr Musonda disclosed that the project has so far loaned ZESCO $560,000 at zero interest to pay the contractor, adding that ZESCO is expected to pay back the loan into a revolving fund to enable other Zambian developers borrow from the same pool.

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