By Edward Mukaro
ZIMBABWE’s Energy Intensity is higher compared to regional and international benchmarks, a condition that has increased the country’s cost of business operations, while at the same time making goods and services uncompetitive in the region, the minister of Energy and Power Development Hon. Soda Zhemu has said.
The country is on the verge of developing a first of its kind, National Energy Efficiency Policy, as the Government moves to save from the 2300MW produced by the country’s power sources.
This exercise is part of an overall national energy policy initiative that seeks to create an enabling environment for making clean and affordable energy accessible to all in an Upper Middle Income Economy of 2030.
Addressing stakeholders in the energy sector, in a speech, read on his behalf by the deputy minister of Energy and Power Development Hon. Magna Mudyiwa, minister Zhemu said, “… We use old and antiquated equipment in the residential sector, in the industry as well as the mining sector resulting in low energy efficient levels. This leads to unnecessary energy loses in terms of both electricity and fuel that the country cannot afford.
“Besides efforts by the Government and its utilities, it has been noted that inefficient use of energy is still prevalent in many households and institutions.
“Our markets are flooded with inefficient products… Some industries are still using inefficient mercury vapor lighting units among others instead of LEDs. Our electric motors, pumps and steam heating systems in the industry, mining and agriculture are also inefficient. In addition, some of the pumps in agriculture need to be properly sized,” he said.
Energy audits carried out in the country have proved that most power loads have low power factor leading to high demand for reactive power from the national grid.
The minister added that energy efficiency is at the core of increasing savings and making all sectors of the economy more competitive.
It (National Energy Efficient Policy) will also assist in the reduction of production cost and allow for the development and entry of new efficient technologies in the country.
Speaking at the same occasion, the ministry of energy and power development chief director Eng. Benson Munyaradzi said, “We have developed many policies, but not many have had an impact. We need policies that breed results.
“We don’t want a copy and paste policy. Let’s have homegrown solutions. A lot of things have come out of this workshop for the development of this policy.
“We should be clear on which sectors we want to focus on,” he said.
The Policy will pave way for the development of the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). Standards are key to ensuring that only quality products enter the market.
The National Energy Efficient Policy is being crafted by the support of the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).
Previously, the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) has put in a number of measures to promote a culture of energy saving in the country, such as, banning the inefficient lighting through Statutory Instrument (SI) 21 of 2017, gazetting of Solar Water Heating Regulations for new buildings through SI 235 of 2019, among a host of others.
Since 2014, several initiatives have been made in fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) number 7. These include the launch of the National Renewable Energy Policy and the Biofuels Policy of Zimbabwe. The National Energy Efficiency Policy is part of the fulfilment of SDG7.
By Edward Mukaro