By BRIAN HATYOKA –
THE Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) has called for a reduction in the cost of production in the energy sector.
CEC Head of Government and Investor Relations Sylvester Hibajene said energy was a major component of the cost, and therefore it was important to lower energy costs.
Mr Hibajene, who is former Energy Regulation Board (ERB) executive director, said the country could only remain competitive by finding innovative ways of lowering the cost of production.
He said this in Livingstone at the weekend in his presentation to delegates at the just ended 2018 Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ) Symposium and Annual General Meeting (AGM) under the theme
“Engineering for an Innovative and Competitive Zambia”.
The event attracted scores of engineers across Zambia as well as executive committee members of the Federation of African Engineering Organisation (FAEO).
CEC partnered with Konkola Copper Mines Plc to deliver a platinum sponsorship package covering the EIZ gala dinner on Saturday night at AVANI Victoria Falls Hotel valued at K350, 000.
“The irony is that we can only lower the cost of energy if we can attract more investments into the sector and increase production, the principle of economies of scale applies to this sector like all others.
“It is therefore, important that the energy sector remains attractive to both local and foreign direct investment if it is to grow,” he said.
Mr Hibajene said the tariff structure must be predictable and guarantee the investor a reasonable return on their investment.
“The consumers of energy must also consume in an efficient manner so as to minimise waste.
“CEC is currently working with the regulator, ERB and all stakeholders in developing frameworks that will compel consumers across the country to consume power in a responsible and efficient manner as prescribed by the national grid code,” Mr Hibajene said.
He said Zambia’s population was growing while the known mineral resources were depleting and the mines getting deeper.
Mr Hibajene noted that an increasing population usually comes with shortage of arable farmland.
“Energy demand is increasing as a result of industrialisation, population growth and modern human requirements.
“Southern Africa will require at least 65, 000 Megawatts (MWs) of available installed generation capacity by 2022 to power industry,” he said.
In addition to conventional energy sources, Mr Hibajene said new and alternative sources of energy would be required.
Mr Hibajene also said bridging the gap between industry and the academia was the key in creative innovation and sustainable employment.