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Private sector apt for energy industry boost, says envoy


By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

A strong private sector participation remains a precondition for the energy sector to thrive and pass on the benefits to consumers.

The availability of strong private actors operating in a fair and level playing field is a precondition for a thriving energy sector, according to the German Ambassador to Zambia and Special Representative to COMESA, Anne Wagner-Mitchell.

Dr Mitchell acknowledged the importance of having a fair level playing field which could support private sector participation in the energy sector.

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She said this after undertaking an orientation visit of the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) on Friday, 17 September 2021.

“In general, we believe in the energy market, it is important to also have private sector, private institutions like this one [CEC]. What I have learnt from my visit today here is that it is important to have a fair level playing field that these private companies can operate in.

” I think for the energy market, it is important to have private actors and strong actors and from what I understand, CEC is really a strong actor, and we are happy to have that stake, that interest in it,” Dr Mitchell said.

Upon learning of the services that each utility derived from each other in delivering energy solutions to various users in the Copperbelt Province, Dr Mitchell described as remarkable, the co-dependency between the national power utility, ZESCO, and CEC.

After her visit to the 1 MegaWattes (MW) Riverside solar plant, the Ambassador said it was important for the country to diversify its energy sources in growing its energy sector.

Dr Mitch described as impressive that the solar plant, which had the added benefit of supporting practical learning and research, was providing learners from the Copperbelt University with real life learning experience.

In response, CEC Board Chairman, London Mwafulilwa, assured the Ambassador that CEC remained resolute in expanding its contribution to the energy sector.

Mr Mwafulilwa said in its quest to actualise a diversified power sourcing portfolio, the Company was not only steadily emerging as a credible off taker of power from independent power producers, such as Dangote and Lunsemfwa, but was equally actively investing in power generation projects especially in the renewable energy space.

“The 1MW solar plant has served as a learning curve for us and in the next 12 to 14 months, the plant will have its capacity expanded to 25MW, as matters relating to land usage have been given clearance by the local authorities,” Mr Mwafulilwa said.

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