LUSAKA, Feb 5 - Government says the abundant mini-hydro, solar and biomass resources could be used as an effective and sustainable solution to rural electrification.
Energy Minister George Mpombo said in Lusaka yesterday that mini-grids based on renewable energy technologies could also save on the cost of imported diesel fuel.
Mr Mpombo was speaking during the opening of the second workshop on the project on "Renewable Energy-based Electricity Generation for Isolated Mini-grids in Zambia."
The minister said Government considered the provision of reliable energy services as one of the top priorities in the energy sector.
He said against this background, it was clear that without addressing electrification barriers related to policy, financial, institutional, technical and information awareness, it would be difficult to promote sustainable energy alternatives to increase access.
Mr Mpombo also said based on the current low levels of electrification, some decisive actions were being taken to address this and, among them was the enactment of legislation to create the Rural Electrification Authority.
Though the authority is not yet operational, it is envisaged that it will spearhead the national electrification programme in a more comprehensive manner than the current piece-meal approach.
Further, Government is planning to review the national energy policy document of 1994 to make it more responsive to the current and future challenges in the energy sector.
Mr Mpombo appealed to the stakeholders in the project to move from workshops to the implementation stage of the pilot project in the three selected sites in Shiwang'andu, Kaputa and Samfya.
He said Government was committed to the success of the project and pledged to providing a conducive environment that would attract and ensure the viability of investment in the energy sector.
The project is being funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) and the United Nations environment Programme (Unep).