In 2016 Zambia completed the 120 MW Itezhi-Tezhi hydroelectric power station which was the country’s first public-private partnership project in the energy sector.
Construction of the US $375 million dollar project began in 2011 as a joint venture between Zambia’s state-owned ZECO and TATA Africa.
Chinas state-owned Sinohydro was the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor while French-based Alstom supplied the two 60-MW Kaplan turbines
Starting in 2015 daily power-cuts were the order of the day in Zambia forcing the country to import electricity from neighbouring countries such as Mozambique.
In response, Zambia’s government launched a series of initiatives to promote the development of renewables and while accelerating the completion of new hydroelectricity plants.
President Edgar Lungu commissioned a 54 MW Bangweulu solar power plant which was Zambia’s first utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) farm in March 2019.
A month later in April, the 34 MW Ngonye solar plant owned by Italy’s EGP and South Africas IDC was linked to the grid supported by a 25-year power purchase agreement with signed with ZECO.
The Zambian government is keeping up the momentum with more renewable energy investments after an additional 100 MW solar PV tender was announced.
This is an addition to six solar IPPs project with a combined 120 MW awarded in April at an average of $0.044/kWh.
To prevent a power deficit as new renewable capacity kicks in Zambia is still investing in new hydro-power stations at the Musonda, Lusawaki and Kafue Gorge dams.
The African Development Bank (AFDB) revealed that the Zambian government rolling out a programme to construct mini solar plants with an eventual overall capacity of 600 MW at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.
In the first quarter of 2018, and for the first time Zambia stopped importing electricity and is expected to sell surplus electricity to the Southern African Development Community (SADC).