26 February 2016

Zambia: President Lungu Pursues Innovation Solutions to Power Crisis

President of Zambia Edgar Lungu is taking action to pursue innovative solutions to the ongoing power crisis in Zambia by importing 100MW from a "powership" stationed in neighbouring Mozambique.

The ship, which is owned by the Turkish power company Karadeniz, docked in the Nacala port on February 18, and will be connected to the grid in the next two days to generate 100MW of electricity imported into to Zambia for the next two years, temporarily supporting generation capacity which has been weakened by drought.

"When President Lungu campaigned for office, he promised help Zambian people make it through this difficult period and address load shedding problems, and here he is fulfilling his words with actions," said a government official familiar with the powership, who asked not to be named in the article.

"We have inherited a very difficult situation with Kariba down to just 12% of capacity, and ZESCO only generating 275MW out of a total installed capacity of 1,080MW. While although the previous government had not taken action to prepare for this power crisis, President Lungu is stepping forward to personally take the initiative with innovative solutions."

ZESCO spokesperson Henry Kapata recently told Reuters in an interview that "We have a power deficit of 630 MW as of January 2016 although we expect this to reduce to below 160 MW by August 2016 as mitigation measures are put in place."

The addition of the Karadeniz powership to Zambia's grid is expected to help cut back on load shedding, which is averaging eight hours a day, while the dams await higher water levels.

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