…but Eng Stephen Chishimba calls for importing of power as immediate mitigation measure
By JOHN SAKALA
A seasoned Lusaka based Civil Engineer Lytone Kanowa says Zambian Engineers are making themselves irrelevant by remaining mute amid load shedding crisis.
Eng Kanowa who has an engineering bias in Water and Sanitation said amid such crisis, Zambian Engineers are supposed to provide solutions to the problem.
He said he was listening to information on the radio about the water levels in Kariba Dam which stands at 20.8%.
“The solution lies with us on this platform as Engineers. I seem to feel we are making ourselves irrelevant to restoration because we remain invisible. Many are times opinions and happenings have been requested on this platform around restoration of ecosystem on which sustainable water availability depends but no one seem to know what is happening, to restore, even to undertake befitting study to understand the jigsaw puzzle.
“While the rainfall has not reduced that low, the storage is dwindling drastically. Any documentation on the matter colleagues? What is happening to understand, mitigate and restore? Please let us be the solution to the needy situation. We are running out of water,” he posted in the Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH) WhatsApp forum.
But Supremacy Investment Managing Director Stephen Chishimba said Engineers themselves should acquaint themselves with correct information.
Eng Chishimba said the immediate solution to the load management crisis is importing power to mitigate the situation.
He said load-shedding is negatively affecting the Zambian economy and importing is a sure way to immediately mitigate the situation.
“With business, it becomes more expensive if you don’t produce than when you produce and get almost zero profit. Zesco should immediately consider importing power so that the economy of Zambia is not stagnated. Even if Zesco will be making zero profit it is worthy it because the economy will run,” he said.
Eng Chishimba, a former Country Head of Safety at Zesco said the power utility company has embarked on several expansion projects.
He cited the Kafue Gorge Lower shown in the pictures above which is almost complete and will have the capacity to produce 750 megawatts.
“The Kafue Gorge Lower is an example of total maximization of water in the Kafue River. This is because in the upstream the same river powers Kafue Gorge. Zesco has already uprated the capacity of its machines at Kariba dam from 150 megawatts to 180mw.
“I know Zesco has also already identified more possible sites for hydro power stations which requires to be exploited to mitigate power for the long term. Other sites are on Luapula River to be managed by Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the other on the Zambezi River to be managed by Zambia and Zimbabwe,” he said.
He said Zambia should consider wooing more investors to invest in thermal power in order to tap more of the plenty coal in Maamba.
Eng Chishimba said that it is cheaper to set up a thermal plant than a hydro power station which requires large water bodies used to harvest water for power generation.
“With thermal power, what is expensive is the boiler but once it is done, power becomes reliable. Other options for immediate intervention must be the provincial solar farms. These provincial solar must have a targeted capacity like 40 mw to supply to all homes on the Copperbelt and replicate the same to all provinces.
“We also need to take the biomass way. We need to ask Nakambala Sugar to set up its own power plant and realize fuel from the residues of sugar canes,” he said.
He said Zambia has capacity to export.
Asked whether scrapping off duty on all renewable energy sources, Eng Chishimba said the removal of duty will only benefit the supplier thereby making the supplier to be making triple profit without passing on to the end user.
Zambia needs about 2, 200 megawatts (mw) during peak hours and Zesco generates a total of 2, 806mw when water levels are normal.