By Edward Mukaro
GOVERNMENT has been implored to invest in research towards Renewable Energy (RE) for the nation to achieve sustainable development while reaping the multi-faceted benefits from the use of REs, climate change mitigation and renewable energy expert, Lawrence Mashungu has said.
Zimbabwe identified renewable energy as one of the key cogs to advocate for achieving sustainable development, as the nation pushes towards a middle-income economy, as articulated in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The BusinessConnect, Mashungu acknowledged that the Southern African nation was already using more renewable energy compared to fossil fuels, but opined that if enough research was accorded the nation stands to become 100 percent (%) reliant on RE.
“Most of the energy being used in Zimbabwe is largely renewable because we have the Kariba and Batokas plants producing the bulk of our energy, and others.
“Zimbabwe has the opportunity to be 100% reliant on renewable energy, hence, there is need for energy planning and looking into the energy mix.
“Government should prioritise support in terms of research in RE, as that has not really happened to the magnitude it deserves,” said Mashungu.
Furthermore, the climate expert opined that government support would go a long way in advocating for the increase in the use of green energy, which faces stiff completion from ‘highly subsidized’ fossil fuels.
“Fossil fuel business is highly subsidized. The prices pegged on fossil fuels are not the actual costs.
“Hence, a lot needs to be done as renewable energy is competing against subsidized fossil fuel,” he added.
Generally, factors limiting the absorption of REs include issues like resistance to change the way of doing business, lack of awareness, value chains within and out of the fossil fuel sector, and also the fact that traditionally, fossil fuel has been the mainstay when it comes to energy preferences.
Zimbabwe is in the process of improving its National Determined Contributions (NDCs), as the country is a signatory to the Paris Agreement of 2015, which abides all member countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emission.
The government of Zimbabwe is on the verge of launching its first Energy Efficiency Policy, with stakeholder consultations already at an advanced stage.
By Edward Mukaro