HomeNewsZambia sees big electricity surplus, could export

Zambia sees big electricity surplus, could export

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* Power surplus seen at 600 MW by 2016

* Sees opportunity for regional exports

Zambia expects to have a power surplus of about 600 megawatts (MW) by 2016, which should help ease the electricity deficit facing southern Africa, an industry official said on Wednesday.

Michael Tarney, managing director for corporate development at Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), said although the power situation would be tight for the next four years, Zambia was likely to have a large surplus after that.

“I think Zambia is well placed to export power because there are a lot of generation projects taking off,” Tarney said.

About 600 MW of electricity is enough to power around a million homes in an industrialised country like Britain.

Electricity is a major issue in Zambia as the mining sector in Africa’s top copper producer is power hungry and growth over the next few years could be constrained by available supply.

Tarney said Zambia would get out of the deficit relatively quickly and become an exporter of power because its generation projects were far ahead of those in the rest of the region.

“It will be very tight maybe to 2015 but I think after that things should improve very fast,” he said.

Zambia was this year expected to agree the financing terms for the bulk of the funding for a $2 billion power project which will add 750 MW to the country’s generation by 2017, he said.

The Kariba North Bank Extension project which will add 360 MW to the national grid was due to start producing electricity way ahead of the November 2012 target, he said.

Tarney said a 120 MW power station being developed by the Itezhi Tezhi Power Corporation, a company jointly owned by Zambian state power company, Zesco and TATA Africa of South Africa, would start production by 2015.

“We can have a surplus of around 600 MW available by 2016 for export, particularly for hydro power,” Tarney said.

Zambia also planned to build two new hydro power plants that are expected to add a total of 247 MW to the national grid and boost regional supply by 2016, Tarney said.

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