Zambia’s President Approves Plans For Hybrid Renewable Energy Plant

The project is billed as the first facility in Sub-Saharan Africa to combine wind and solar energy in one location.

By Sneha A on
12th August 2023

Zambia’s president has given approval for plans related to the construction of a 71-megawatt hybrid renewable energy project in the Chibombo district, located in the country’s Central province.

The project will have solar and wind components and is expected to cost $100 million. It will be undertaken by Israel’s Gigawatt Global and its subsidiary Gigawatt Wind, and is billed as the first such facility in Sub-Saharan Africa to combine wind and solar energy in one location, providing a continuous supply of power. 

Chibombo is seen as an ideal location for the hybrid plant as the wind picks up as the sun is setting. This enables a continuous source of feedstock and eliminates the need to use batteries, thus addressing the solar power storage issue. 

Talks had been ongoing for several years on the solar-wind scheme and an agreement was reached during President Hakainde Hichilema‘s early August state visit to Israel. 

Gigawatt Global and Gigawatt Wind have already completed grid impact studies, Gigawatt Global’s CEO Yosef Abramowitz told The Jerusalem Post publication. The company will now move to start full project implementation. 

The Israeli joint venture now has an investment licence with the Zambia Development Agency and an implementation agreement in place with the Ministry of Energy. The president has given state-owned Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco) an executive order to sign the final agreement.

Zesco will sign a 25-year power purchase agreement with the joint venture to ensure the new project’s viability, according to Abramowitz.

According to Zesco, Zambia currently has 3,600 megawatts of installed capacity, of which 86% comes from hydropower, with the remaining 14% supplied by a coal-fired thermal power station and several solar plants. With the country experiencing weakening rainfall patterns, especially in the south where key hydropower stations are located, the need to diversify power sources is compelling, notes the state utility company.

Photo: Solar and wind energy (© Lovelyday12 | Dreamstime.com)

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