By Wellington Zimbowa
INDEED, Zimbabwe is not only open for Business but for Green Energy as well!
Government through the Ministry of Energy and Power Development has taken a formidable step in fostering the adoption of alternative energy.
His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched the National Renewable Energy Policy (NEP) and the Biofuels Policy Thursday at a ceremony graced by different stakeholders in the civil, corporate and energy sectors.
In this particular edition, we shall focus on the National Renewable Energy Policy although both policies have the shared foundation of complementing Government’s Vision 2030 and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Zimbabwe is to be a middle economy country by 2030 through increased employment, reduction of poverty rate l to levels consistent with middle-income economies among other factors as encapsulated in this vision.
Therefore it is noted that clean and sustainable energy sources are the vital cog of a thriving nation through the implementation
“Energy has a major role to play in the overall economic and social development of Zimbabwe…. NREP focuses on the energy needs of the country from renewable energy resources. It is an initiative aimed at securing the long term energy needs of the country in a sustainable way,” notes the Energy Minister.
Energy and Power Development Minister in his foreword of the Policy Document notes that the National Energy Policy (NEP), provides an overall framework for optimal supply and utilisation of energy in general and ensure access to modern energy services for the country’s socio-economic development.
According to the 2012 National Energy Policy, the country only has a mere 42 percent as the national electrification rate. Electricity has reached 83 percent of the urban households while rural electrification is still around 13 percent.
The country has an installed capacity of about 2300 Megawatts with ZESA’s power generation subsidiary, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) owning around 95 percent of this as noted by the 2012 NEP.
Averaged actual power generation capacity for 2019 is below 1000MW against a peak demand of about 1700MW.
Bagasse, mini hydro power and small sized grid connected solar systems have an installed of about 130 megawatts according to the NREP document.
More than 50 percent of the of the country’s power is hydro- generated from Kariba Dam whose current lowest water level has impacted on generated output.
Official 2014 statistics shows that Zimbabwe has a population of 13.4 million, with around 68 percent living in the rural areas while 32 percent are in the urban areas according to the World Bank data.
Access to power by the rural folk is severely low standing at 13 percent while that of urbanites is 83 percent with 42 percent of the country’s population having no access to electricity according to authorities.
Other alternatives yet to be exploited according to Minister Chasi includes solar, hydro, biomass and wind (to a limited extend).
Zimbabwe has a total potential of 1000 megawatts from biomass, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Biomass energy can be derived from biogas, agriculture and municipal waste, forest residue among others.
The persistent lack of adequate and reliable electricity supply in Zimbabwe has resulted in significant economic losses while the wide resort to fossil fuels and primary energy sources leads to deforestation and environmental pollution.
NREP besides opening up to new players in the renewable energy sector, will also address climate change issues as related to energy, obtain cost effective energy sources, social upliftment through community involvement, gender equality and employment generation.
However barricades to green energy uptake include funding constraints, inadequate institutional structures, poor appropriate skills and technology.
By Wellington Zimbowa