- How has the green energy revolution been developing in Zambia?
Firstly, we must remember that Zambia is of course one of the world leaders in green energy, with over 90% of its generation capacity coming from hydro sources. That said, the government has quite rightly decided that it must continue to be a leader in this field, and support a diversified and distributed generation mix. Since 2016 Zambia has implemented key programs to enhance the uptake of green energy generation. Starting with the IFC’s Scaling Solar program and progressing to the implementation of the REFIT legislation in 2017 which outlines the framework for the procurement of both solar and small scale hydro, the general direction is positive. This said, there is much progress to be made, as grid infrastructure upgrades are required, and existing low power tariffs present a formidable barrier to meaningful private sector investment into both the Grid Connected and the Commercial and Industrial green energy market.
- What are the next steps to ensuring that Zambia has a climate resilient energy mix?
In short, diversification of the energy mix. Over reliance on hydro power has left domestic generation vulnerable to climate shock such as drought, but also to domestic pressures such as water demand from a rapidly growing agricultural sector. Zambia has a vast pipeline of domestic solar, wind and biomass projects which should be fast tracked, while enhancement of the trans-border energy network through schemes such as the ZIZABONA transmission project and the Southern African Power pool must continue.
A key driver of these reforms is cost reflective tariffs. These tarrifs must balance the need to protect those who can’t afford energy in order to foster electrification, whilst also allowing businesses to flourish. A crucial area for this is in the mining sector, where the government must ensure it continues to be a world leader in copper production, but also that electricity pricing is fair on all participants in order to ensure the full development of the energy sector in Zambia.
- What can delegates expect from your session at ZIMEC?
Delegates can expect a broad overview of the types of project developed by Buffalo Energy, and our experiences to date with developing in Zambia. This will cover the typical barriers to development which we have encountered here and provide insight into the mitigation measures which we believe can transform these issues into real project opportunities. Zambia has so much potential in terms of power generation, and I hope to highlight how a clear policy direction, combined with a willingness of developers to collaborate with local stakeholders can help Zambia realise this potential.
- What are you most looking forward to at ZIMEC?
Linking up with global leaders in mining and energy! It’s a great opportunity to discuss innovative and collaborative approaches to the energy challenges faced by both the mines and other stakeholders, and I am delighted to be part of an exciting juncture in the future of energy generation in Zambia.