PRESIDENT Michael Sata has directed Zesco to develop more hydro-power stations around Zambia to meet the increasing power demand.
Mr Sata said Zambia was faced with increased power demand, which required more investment in energy infrastructure.
The President said this in Chinsali yesterday when he commissioned the US$4.1 million Shiwan'gandu mini-hydro-power station.
"My Government is working towards changing the situation, therefore, the coming of Shiwan'gandu hydro power station could not have come at a better time than now," President Sata said.
He said the Government, through Zesco, would build other mini-hydro-power stations on various small rivers in Zambia.
Mr Sata said even though the Shiwang'andu hydro-power station generated only one megawatt, it showed his Government's commitment to taking power closer to people in rural areas.
He said the new plant would provide energy to light houses and villages and also give uninterrupted power supply to micro and medium enterprises.
He said the power station would service schools, hospitals and ensure optimum use of Information Communication Technology in Muchinga Province.
President Sata said the Shiwan'gandu plant was an important project as it would create more job opportunities not only for Chinsali and Muchinga Province but the people of Zambia.
He said opportunities for expansion and development in the tourism and agriculture sectors had also been created.
The Head of State said the Government was also working on the expansion of the Lusiwasi power plant in Central Province to about 100 MV and the construction of a 330KV power line from Pensulo through Mpika to Kasama.
He said other projects were rehabilitation of Lunzua power station in Mbala to increase output to 15 MW and the rehabilitation of Musonda Falls power station in Luapula Province.
Other projects include the street lightning in Mpika and power supply to Katibunga Mission, Mukungule and Mono Camps.
The President was accompanied by first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda, State House Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations George Chellah, Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister Christopher Yaluma and his Mines, Energy and Water Development counterpart Yamfwa Mukanga.
At the same function, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) renewable and rural energy unit chief, Diego Masera praised the Government for ensuring the rural population had access to power.
Dr Masera said the Shiwang'andu project had raised the visibility of Zambia's efforts in the promotion of energy access.
"The presence of President Sata and several members of his Government here gives us a clear signal of their commitment to providing energy access to all Zambians through renewable energy and is putting Zambia ahead of many other countries in the fight against poverty," Dr Masera said.
Shiwang'andu was one of the first of three renewable energy mini-grids developed through UNIDO and the United Nations Environment Programme project.
It was financed by the Global Environmental Facility and executed by the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development.