Another potential power crisis for Zambia?


The Energy Minister has announced that Zambia has reduced hydropower production at the Kariba Dam – Zambia’s biggest electricity source - due to rapidly declining water levels at Lake Kariba.


It is not the first time Zambia has run into this sort of trouble, just three years ago we experienced a critical power crisis ago because of lack of water at Kariba. At its worst point load shedding was taking place for about 8-14 hours every day, making it tough for local businesses.


Data from the turbines at Kariba, shows that power production has been cut by 27 percent this month. The dam has dropped to 43 percent of capacity from 85 percent in October, as inflows from the Zambezi River that feeds it dwindle.


As Africa’s second-biggest copper producer, mines in Zambia account for more than half of electricity demand and any shortages could cut outputs and significantly impact the country’s GDP. A limited production means less revenue. The economic impact is real.


Currently, 90 per cent of the country’s electricity comes from hydropower – an over reliance on one source of energy has proved time and again to be dangerous. Aside from uncontrollable environmental conditions, better government planning could steer a diverse mix of energy sources, relieving some of the pressure off hydrogen and looking towards alternative sources like solar.

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