As of 2021, Zambia's total electricity consumption was majorly fueled by low-carbon sources, producing nearly 16.33 TWh. The significant portion of this energy, approximately 16.07 TWh, was sourced from hydropower while fossil energy contributed almost 1.38 TWh. These figures place Zambia's per capita electricity consumption far below the global average of 410 watts/person. The reliance on low-carbon energy portrays a positive image of Zambia's commitment towards a sustainable energy sector. However, the low levels of electricity generation indicate the potential for extensive power deficits, which may hamper economic activities, technological advancements, and essential service delivery.
Looking at other countries, Zambia can take lessons from successful practices in low-carbon energy generation. China, for instance, has demonstrated credible progress in wind and solar energy production, generating 941 and 531 TWh respectively. The United States too, with its considerable output from nuclear and wind energy, makes a good case study. Given Zambia's climatic and geographical conditions, it can particularly learn from Brazil, which generates a significant portion of its low-carbon electricity from wind energy, a staggering 94 TWh. By making strategic investments in the solar and wind sector, alongside leveraging the existing hydropower facilities, Zambia can significantly raise its low-carbon electricity generation.
Tracing back Zambia's history with low-carbon electricity, there's been an enduring reliance on hydroelectric power since the 1980s. There were increments in hydroelectric power generation consistently through the years, with spikes in 1981, 1990, 1991, 1993, and subsequent years. However, there were also instances of considerable declines, most notably around 1987, 1989, and especially during the mid-1990s and in 2015-2016. The most recent data from 2021 indicates a substantial rise in hydro power output, demonstrating a renewed push towards a greener energy mix in the country. The ups and downs in hydroelectric production affirm the need for diversifying Zambia's low-carbon energy sources.