The availability of sufficient energy resources is the catalyst that will unlock and catapult the immense economic potential of Luapula Province, Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc’s Managing Director, Owen Silavwe, has advised.
Silavwe gave this prescription at the recently held 2017 Luapula Expo themed “Linking Investors to Luapula Province to Unlock the Economic Potential” and lauded the Government for the initiative taken to proactively expose Luapula to both local and foreign investment. CEC supported the Expo through sponsorship and exhibition.
“Electricity is the needed key to unlock Luapula Province’s vast economic potential and CEC is well positioned to join hands with the Government and interested private and public investors to explore and harness the immense hydropower and other renewable energy resources such as solar in order to make available adequate energy resources required to spur the province’s social and economic transformation,” said Silavwe.
He explained that as a local investor, with over 60 years of operating a vast power network in the economic heartland of the country, and investing continuously in the energy sector in Zambia, CEC possessed the pedigree, skills, knowledge and experience to add to partnerships with others that have matched interest to tangibly contribute to the country’s development; particularly in energy through power generation and extension of the nation’s transmission and distribution grid for accelerated access to power nationwide.
CEC is not new to Luapula and has long before now believed in and revealed its potential; having staked its interest in developing the hydropower potential of the Luapula River, estimated to be in the range of 700MW to 1200MW from five identified sites.
The Company has undertaken topographic surveys and mapping of the schemes, conducted preliminary geotechnical investigations, prepared conceptual designs and updated hydrological data as part of its completed pre-feasibility studies of the power generating potential of the Luapula River, having been granted permission by the Government in 2010, with a view to participating in developing some identified sites within a Government-approved framework.
CEC’s USD4 million spend on these studies attests to its resolve to realise the energy potential of Luapula Province but also to its commitment to develop the power sector in Zambia.
Zambia’s generating plants are concentrated in one part of the country; hence, developing the Luapula River hydropower potential would contribute to the needed geographic diversification of the country’s generation sources from the south and closer to the main load centres in the north. This will also contribute to improved national grid stability.
Further, the Luapula River basin receives considerable and consistent rainfall. This underscores the urgency which must be attached to the realisation of this potential especially with the country just emerging from a crippling shortage of power.
Luapula Province abounds with much potential in agriculture, forestry, mining and tourism, among others, capable of turning the area into a competitive and attractive destination for investment but all that can only be unlocked with sufficient and accessible power.
The Expo received high level Government representation led by the Republican President, H.E. Edgar Lungu, and is an effort by the Government to open up as many parts of the country to development.