Access Power has secured funding from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for the 130MW Zambia wind power project.
The renewable power developer made the announcement on the side-lines of the recently concluded Africa Energy Forum in Copenhagen.
Access Power stated that the USTDA grant will go towards funding the feasibility study and costs related to the development of the project.
The company also emphasized that electricity in Zambia has historically been generated from hydroelectric sources, accounting for 96% of the country’s electricity production
The current long-drawn-out droughts in Southern Africa have consequently resulted in load shedding for up to 8 hours a day, resulting in a drop in the country’s economic productivity.
However, by diversifying Zambia’s energy mix and taping into its vast clean energy power generation potential will help fuel its economy development and satisfy the urgent need for electrification, the power developer noted.
The $275 million wind farm is expected to produce approximately 500GWh of clean electricity, making it one of the largest renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa.
It is also expected to increase Zambia’s power generation capacity by 6% and help cut back the load shedding that is currently hampering the country’s economic growth.
Commenting on the development, the Executive Chairman of Access Power Reda El Chaar, said: “Today, there are no wind projects in Zambia. We are therefore very excited to begin working with USTDA to bring this pioneering project to life and open up this promising sector of Zambia’s economy.
“This task further hardens our obligation in providing viable and sustainable solutions for the urgent electrification of Africa.”
Regional director for sub-Saharan Africa at USTDA, Lida Fitts said: “USTDA is pleased to partner with Access Power on this landmark wind project. Using a combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, both areas where US technologies excel, has the potential to reduce Zambia’s electricity costs and energise its economy.”
Once completed in 2019, Access Power and its strategic partner independent power producer, EREN Renewable Energy, will own and operate the plant.