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14
Jun

Christopher Nthala, Chief Operating Officer, Copperbelt Energy Corporation

As an independent power transmission and quality electricity distribution company with interests in Zambia and sub-Saharan Africa, where do you see the potential opportunities in the energy/mining sectors?

Zambia and Africa in general offer prospects for massive growth. The presence of mineral deposits and prospects of new discoveries, high population growth and low electrification rates are an indication of growing power demand currently and going forward. There are opportunities for partnerships between mining and energy sectors in removing bottlenecks of energy supply and securing future supplies. As an independent and privately owned power utility, CEC is proactive and agile to respond to the changing needs of its customers and the energy sector as a whole.

How do you overcome challenges with end user tariffs and energy affordability?

An optimum mix of supply portfolio, including diverse generation suppliers, with a mix of generation technologies and geography can contribute to overcoming the challenges of tariffs and reliability. A well designed mix gives the best offering on end-user tariff and reliability of supply. Long term PPAs are a necessity for achieving optimum tariffs.

You have attended ZIMEC a number of times in the past. What do you find most valuable about the conference?

The conference has provided us with a good platform to share information about developments in the sector and to possibly influence public opinion and policy changes. It has also been a very useful networking avenue for the Company.

Can you share some of the potential projects coming up in Zambia?

CEC has an interest to invest in generation and transmission projects in Zambia and the Sub-Saharan African region. In Zambia, CEC is interested in investing in various generation projects including the 40MW Kabompo hydro power project towards which preliminary works have been carried out. CEC is also investing in renewable energy generation projects, especially solar. Currently, the Company is in the process of implementing a pilot 1MW plant in Kitwe expected to be followed by a planned 50MW solar project also on the Copperbelt. With regards to transmission development and regional interconnection, CEC recently commissioned the second DRC-Zambia interconnector and is working with other regional players to explore possible partnerships and regional initiatives to mitigate transmission constraints. Further, CEC is working to enhance the emergency power offering for the safety and reliability of power supply to its Mining customers.

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