In a significant development for the renewable energy sector, an Israel-based firm is set to invest $100 million in Zambia’s solar-wind energy project.
The project aims to establish a power station that can generate 71 megawatts of electricity, with equal contributions from solar and wind energy sources.
After seven years of negotiations, the investment was finalised last week during the visit of Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema to Israel. The project is a joint effort by Israel’s Gigawatt Global and Gigawatt Wind, with the support and cooperation of the Zambian government.
This milestone achievement marks the culmination of years of dedicated efforts by the involved companies. The president’s visit was instrumental in accelerating progress, as his approval provided the crucial green light that the companies had eagerly awaited.
With the Investment License from the Zambia Development Agency and the Implementation Agreement with the Energy Ministry in place, the companies are now ready to move forward. The president’s executive order to Zambia’s power utility company to provide the final signature further solidifies the project’s trajectory.
The companies have already completed grid impact studies, showcasing the thoroughness and diligence with which they have approached this endeavour. Yosef Abramowitz, the President of Gigawatt Global, has expressed his optimism and excitement about the project. He revealed that the company will begin full project implementation on-site, with the station being built in Chibombo, a district in the Central Province of Zambia, located approximately two hours from the nation’s capital.
This investment not only represents a significant step towards expanding Zambia’s renewable energy capacity but also highlights the growing collaboration between Israel and African nations in the clean energy sector. It showcases the potential for foreign firms to contribute to the development of sustainable energy solutions in emerging economies.
One of the critical aspects of this project is the utilisation of both solar and wind energy, leveraging the unique strengths and advantages of each source. By combining these two renewable energy sources, the power station will ensure a stable and consistent supply of electricity, reducing the reliance on traditional fossil fuels and mitigating the environmental impact.
The establishment of the power station is expected to have far-reaching benefits for Zambia. It will enhance the country’s energy security, reduce dependency on energy imports, create job opportunities for the local population, and contribute to economic growth. Additionally, it will play a crucial role in meeting the nation’s ambitious renewable energy targets, as outlined in its National Renewable Energy Policy.
The initiative also aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 7, which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. By promoting clean and renewable energy sources, this project contributes to the global efforts to combat climate change and pursue sustainable development.
Continuous Supply of Energy: A Breakthrough in Renewable Energy
In a groundbreaking achievement, Zambia is set to become the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to have a continuous supply of energy through the combination of wind and solar power. Thanks to a deal struck between Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema and Israeli renewable energy experts, this innovative project is set to transform the energy landscape of the country and set a precedent for other African nations to follow.
The negotiations between Hichilema, President Isaac Herzog, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, and renewable energy visionary Yosef Abramowitz paved the way for this momentous collaboration. Abramowitz, a prominent figure in Israel’s renewable energy sector, co-founded the Arava Power Company and was the former chairman of Eilat-Eilot. His expertise, combined with the experience of American-Israeli businessman Ilan Goldstein, co-director of Gigawatt Wind, the company responsible for implementing this ambitious project, promises to bring about remarkable results.
The significance of this venture cannot be overstated. Not only will Zambia benefit from a $100 million pioneering power plant, but it will also create job opportunities and provide training in the field of renewable energy. Furthermore, being the first African country to possess a hybrid wind and solar station brings immense prestige and recognition to Zambia. The impact of this project goes beyond the borders of Zambia and Israel. It strengthens bilateral relations between the two nations and facilitates the flow of private Israeli investment into the Zambian economy.
What sets this project apart is its ability to solve the inherent challenge in solar energy storage. Traditional storage methods heavily rely on high-cost batteries that not only pose a financial burden but also contribute to environmental degradation. However, the combined plant in Chibombo tackles this issue head-on. In this region, the wind tends to pick up as the sun sets, ensuring a continuous supply of power throughout the day and night. This harmonious integration of wind and solar power not only ensures uninterrupted energy flow but also minimises the reliance on costly and harmful storage solutions.
Foreign Minister Cohen: ‘Africa is Growing’
Israel’s Foreign Minister, Stanley Kasongo Kakubo, recently met with his Zambian counterpart, Stanley Cohen, to discuss and strengthen cooperation between the two countries. During their meeting, they signed a framework agreement to enhance collaboration in the fields of medicine, communication, agriculture, and culture. Cohen expressed his belief in the vast potential that Africa holds for Israel, stating, “Africa is growing, and there is great potential for Israel’s relations with the continent’s countries.”
Cohen has been actively engaging with African nations in recent weeks, undertaking a series of visits and participating in four economic forums between Israel and different African countries. These forums have proven to be fruitful, with more than 50 Israeli companies establishing connections and making business deals with various African entities.
One notable success story that highlights Israel’s growing involvement in Africa is Gigawatt Global, an Israeli company that specialises in renewable energy projects. They recently built the first grid-connected solar project in East Africa, an impressive 8.5-megawatt solar power plant in Rwanda. Their success continued earlier this year when they inaugurated a similar-sized solar power project in Burundi.
The next step in their African venture is set to take place in Zambia. Gigawatt Global plans to sign a 25-year power purchase agreement with the Zambian utility company, ensuring the long-term viability of their new project. This agreement signifies the growing interest and cooperation between Israeli companies and African nations, as both sides recognize the benefits of such partnerships.
Israel’s involvement in Africa goes beyond just business opportunities. The country has been actively engaged in providing aid and support to various African countries. Israel has been assisting in areas such as agriculture, healthcare, and technology, sharing its expertise and knowledge to help these nations develop and prosper.
Notably, Israel has been leading the way in agriculture advancements, employing innovative techniques to maximise agricultural productivity in challenging environments. These methods have the potential to greatly benefit African countries, where agriculture plays a vital role in the economy and food security.
Furthermore, Israel’s experience and technological advancements in healthcare have been invaluable to African nations. Through partnerships and capacity-building programs, Israel has helped improve medical infrastructure, provided training to medical professionals, and shared expertise in specialised fields.
Israel’s engagement with Africa is not only limited to economic and development cooperation but extends to cultural exchange as well. By fostering cultural ties, both countries can gain a deeper understanding of each other’s traditions, history, and values, thereby building stronger and more meaningful relationships.