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Zambian Shiwangandu small hydro-power plant inaugurated

The President of the Republic of Zambia, Michael Sata, today commissioned the Shiwangandu small hydro-power plant (SHP), which will supply a mini-grid that will benefit over 25,000 people. It is the first power plant built in Zambia since the 1970s.
The construction of the plant is part of a renewable energy project implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). By building three mini power plants, the project will demonstrate the technical and financial viability of using renewable energy resources to facilitate electrification in rural areas.

The electricity generated will provide energy to power lights in houses, schools and hospitals, will ensure optimum use of information and communications technology, and will stimulate income-generating activities in rural communities that cannot be reached by the national grid.

Financing for SHP was provided by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO). The two other mini-grids, one powered by solar energy and one by a biomass-gasifier, will be co-financed by GEF, Zambia´s Rural Electrification Authority (REA) and the Coopperbelt Energy Company (CEC).

As well as President Sata, the inauguration of the Shiwangandu small hydro power plant was witnessed by Zambia's first President, Kenneth Kaunda; the Minister for Transport, Works, Supply and Communications, Christopher Yaluma; the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Yamfwa Mukanga; and Chief of the UNIDO Renewable and Rural Energy Unit, Diego Masera; among others.

During the opening ceremony, President Sata stressed the fact that Zambia faces an increased power demand, which requires more investment in energy infrastructure. "The commissioning of Shiwangandu hydro power station could not have come at a better time than now," he stated. "(It) will create more job opportunities and possibilities of expansion and development in the tourism and agriculture sectors."

In Zambia, only 3 per cent of the rural population has access to electricity, and the head of state called on ZESCO and the Development Bank of Zambia to work hand-in-hand with UNIDO to build four more mini-hydro-power stations on various small rivers in Zambia. UNIDO is currently developing a project proposal to this end.

UNIDO’s Diego Masera said that there can be no sustainable development without sustainable energy, and commended the Government of Zambia for its commitment to provide the rural population with clean, sustainable and affordable energy.

Additional information:
News date: 05/12/2012

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