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Zimbabwe to embrace renewable energy

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Zimbabwe held its workshop this week on the renewable energy Change Project, which is under the Swedish International Development Agency.

The workshop was attended by the minister of Energy and Power Development Fortune Chasi and representatives from Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority, Zimbabwe Power Company, Renewable Energy Association of Zimbabwe, banks and relevant stakeholders.

The Change Project is a plan proposal that was interrogated and scrutinized with the aim of unveiling some of the challenges and opportunities that are in the renewable energy industry.

”The Change Project is a proposal that is aimed at addressing the challenges and barriers that the country is facing in the renewable sector,” said Chasi.

Minister Chasi noted that one of the reason for the renewable energy projects is to ensure that all citizens by 2030 will be able to access modern energy that will be generated by domestic players.

“As the ministry our vision is to achieve universal access to sustainable and modern energy in Zimbabwe, by 2030,” noted Chasi.

“The promotion of use of renewable energy will enhance the domestic power capacity at the lowest social environmental and economic cost for all sources by 2030,” highlighted Chasi.

Renewable energy projects are already in the pipeline, the implementation of energy policies will help in the mitigation of poverty especially in the rural areas.

“A number of projects are lined up which are very pivotal, from large projects such as the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme to small ones such as mini hydro schemes concentrated in the Manicaland and Masvingo provinces,” he added.

The minister noted that Zimbabwe is endowed with a plethora of renewable energy sources that can produce several giga watts per year.

“Zimbabwe is blessed with significant renewable energy resources that, if well harnessed, can supply 10,000Giga watts hours of energy per year as translated from solar, wind, hydropower, bio energy and geothermal resources,” said Chasi.

Zimbabwe’s vast resources in form of agriculture and municipal waste can be used for cooking lighting, heating and electricity generation.

“The ministry through rural Electrification Fund (REF) is installing domestic and institutional biogas digesters around the country. A number of companies have expressed interest in making use of waste dumping sites like Pomona to generate electricity,”

The wind speeds in Zimbabwe have been proved to be capable to generate power as shown by studies that were carried out by IRENA and some private companies.

“The wind speeds are favorable at hub heights above 50m. It has been established that the average speed at this height is excellent for power generation throughout the year,” noted Chasi.

The workshop on the renewable energy change project comes at a time after the approval of the National Renewable Energy Policy and the National Biofuels Policy this month by the government.

The minister noted that there is great need to revise the polices and legislations that pertain to the generation of power as some of the policies and legislations hinder adoption of renewable energy, such as the six months waiting period after applying for energy generation licenses.

The workshop has reviewed the challenges, possibilities, and threats in the implementation of the renewable energy projects, this encompasses high capital cost, limited data on how many have and will adopt renewable energy, high customer tariffs, political instability and climate change.

Zimbabwe is currently facing power outages that last up to 18 hours per day, attributed to low rainfall patterns and the falling of other power stations to generate electricity to the maximum, henceforth the mitigation of power outages lays on implementation of the renewable energy projects.

Thomas Mukandi
SADC News Zimbabwe Correspondent
@thomasmukandi1

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