The province does not have any major Hydro power station except for a Mini Hydro power station (1 Megawatt) at Shiwang’andu. The main source of Hydro Electric Power supplied through the national power grid. This power only supplies the towns in the province and the rural areas have to mainly rely on wood fuel for their energy needs. There is enormous potential for investment opportunities in the energy sector to meet the province’s demand for energy.
The recently completed one (1) megawatt Mini Hydro generating plant at Shiwang’andu supplies power to surrounding communities as one way of promoting electrification of rural areas. The mini hydro plant has potential for further expansion.
There is potential also on other rivers in the province for generation of hydro electric power. According to GRZ (2010), two potential sites for hydro power generation exist in the province with feasibility studies already conducted. The Mutinondo and Luchenene projects on the Munyamadzi River and its tributary respectively have an estimated potential for 40 MW and 30 MW power stations respectively. The Munyamadzi flows through the Muchinaga Escarpment, which makes for an elevation difference of about 500 meters, to the west of South Luangwa National Park. Both rivers flow into the Luangwa, which flows through the middle area of South Luangwa National Park. These projects are for the development of two separate hydropower stations in the hilly region spreading out on the western side of South Luangwa National Park, at a site about 100 kilometers northwest of the existing Lusiwasi Hydropower Station.
Global Solar Irradiation in Zambia
According to Sigh et al (2013), Zambia has an average solar insolation of 5.5 kWh/m2/day, with approximately 3,000 sunshine hours annually, providing good potential for solar thermal and photovoltaic applications. A preliminary solar energy potential assessment for Zambia was undertaken using Geographic Information System data by IRENA. In the figure below, Red regions have the highest solar irradiance values up to 2,750 kWh/m2. Zambia’s northern areas which include parts of Luapula, Northern and Muchinga provinces recorded the highest solar irradiation of 2,300 kWh/m2/year. This is a clear indication that there is potential for investment in Solar Energy in the province.
Wind Hot spots in Zambia
Wind speeds in Zambia average 3 meters per second (m/s) at 10 m above the ground, a speed which is mainly suitable for mechanical applications. Some meteorological data on wind speeds at 10 m above ground is available, but is not adequate to guide investment for power generation. At that height, wind energy is only useful for mechanical energy, such as water pumping (Singh: 2013). Indications that higher wind speeds may exist at higher heights, e.g., 70 m to 100 m, needs to be explored to direct any strategy to develop wind in Zambia. According to Singh (2013), encouraging wind hot spots at a higher altitude were however, identified from a 2012 SADC study, the Renewable Energy Strategy and Action Plan, around Chongwe area east of Lusaka (Location: 28° 47′ 40″ East, 15° 30′ 45″ South), and along the Muchinga escarpment centered on Chipembele (Location: 31° 28′ 57″ East, 12° 1′ 53″ South).
Zambia has more than 80 hot springs (Sigh et al 2013). The Zambian hot springs associated with zones of major deep seated fault and fracture systems along which water of mainly meteoric origin circulate to great depths and is heated through normal geothermal gradients. Muchinga province has at least two potential sites at Kapishya Hot Springs in Shiwang’andu and Mayuke in Chinsali districts. These however would need feasibility studies to establish their suitability for geothermal power generation.