U.S. extends wind energy taproots into Zambia

U.S. trade division says it's creating jobs at home by developing wind export potential for Zambia, which faces energy security issues because it relies heavily on hydroelectric power.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Aug. 21, 2017 at 6:15 AM
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Aug. 21 (UPI) -- A U.S. trade division said it awarded a $1 million grant to support a feasibility study for the development of a 130 megawatt wind farm in Zambia.

Zambia relies on hydroelectricity for nearly all of its energy needs, which left the country with severe energy shortages because of low rainfall over recent years. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency said it was extending the reach for potential U.S. goods while alleviating energy concerns in Zambia with its grant for project developer Access Power and EREN Renewable Energy, an independent power producer.

"USTDA is pleased to support this important project that will help diversify Zambia's energy generation mix," Acting Director Thomas R. Hardy said in a statement.

U.S. President Donald Trump has prioritized the coal, oil and natural gas sectors at home as part of a nationalist economic policy. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last week, the administration said coal was making a comeback both at home at abroad, noting "that U.S. coal exports are rising to countries that claim climate-change virtue."

The USTDA explained its goal was to create U.S. jobs by exporting U.S. goods to emerging economies. Access Power, which has headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, said it would look for a U.S. company to complete a study for the potential wind energy program i Zambia.

"By bringing this pioneering project to fruition with the support of USTDA we aim to diversify Zambia's energy mix and tap into its vast clean energy power generation potential in order to help fuel its economy development and satisfy the urgent need for electrification," Managing Director Vahid Fotuhi said.

The International Monetary Fund in June said Zambia's economic outlook has improved in part because of "good rains" and increased foreign investments. Real gross domestic product is on pace to improve from 3.4 percent to 4 percent by next year.

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