Households' Perceptions On Energy Consumption And Sustainable Life Styles In Zambia

2157 words - 9 pages

Energy consumption in Zambia
Although Zambia is well endowed with indigenous energy resources, the availability of modern energy services to the country’s current population of about 13.1million inhabitants remains an important priority ([11]; [12]). Zambia’s energy sources include electricity, petroleum, coal, biomass, and renewable energy [12]. Among the present sources of energy, wood fuel in the form of charcoal and firewood contributes 79%, electricity 10%, petroleum products 9% and coal 2% of the total consumed energy [12]. It is only petroleum which is wholly imported in the country, while the country is basically self-sufficient in all the other energy resources, as it has substantial unexploited reserves of these forms of energy. Zambia has solar radiation averages of 5.5 kWh/m²/day with up to 3,000 sunshine hours annually; providing significant potential for solar thermal and photovoltaic exploitation [14].

Hydro power is the most important source of electricity in Zambia. However, there has not been any major addition to the country’s generation capacity in the last 20-30 years despite the huge potential in hydro resources. It is estimated that Zambia possesses 40% of the water resources in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The country has about 6,000 MW unexploited hydro power potential, while only about 1,985 MW has been developed [13]. Decades of underinvestment and maintenance backlogs due to poor governance and administration of the main electricity supplier, Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO), have led to an energy deficit in the country with intermittent power outages and an energy-poor rural community, as most electricity is provided to urban areas at the expense of the rural communities.

Access to electricity in Zambia is one of the major problems experienced by both urban and rural residents. In 2010, for example, a survey conducted by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of Zambia revealed that only 22% of households in Zambia were connected to electricity. Analysis by rural and urban set up showed that only 5% of households in rural areas had connection to electricity compared to 53% of their urban counterparts [11]. With regards to usage, energy in Zambia is mainly used for lighting and cooking purposes, with kerosene/paraffin remaining the main source of lighting energy for most households, although this has reduced from 41% in 2006 to 27% in 2010. Other lighting sources include candles, electricity, diesel, open fire, torches and solar panels. While the use of diesel and open fire for lighting has reduced, other sources have increased. The figure below shows the percentage distribution of households by main type of lighting energy in 2006 and 2010.

Figure 1: Percentage distribution of households by main type of lighting energy, 2010 and 2006, Zambia (Source: CSO, 2010)

When we consider cooking, it is reported that 54% of households in Zambia use firewood as the main source of...

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