Zimbabwe advocates renewable energy advancements

Leonard Ncube, leonard.ncube@chronicle.co.zw 

ENERGY and Power Development Minister Edgar Moyo has underlined the urgent need for substantial policy reforms across Africa, including Zimbabwe, to advance renewable energy initiatives. 

Speaking at the official opening ceremony  of the International Renewable Energy Conference Expo 2024, Minister Moyo said that such advancements are essential for achieving developmental objectives, marking a significant call to action for the continent’s energy sector. 

The conference, which drew to a close yesterday in Victoria Falls, served as a pivotal platform for these critical discussions.

Celebrating its fifth iteration, the expo, orchestrated by the Ministry of Energy and Alpha Media, has become a cornerstone event for energy discourse. 

Minister Moyo highlighted  Zimbabwe’s plight, a nation grappling with climate change’s harsh realities, manifesting in diminished water levels at Lake Kariba and a subsequent drop in electricity output from the Kariba Hydro Electric Power Station.

He said Ministries of Energy, Environment and Industry came together to craft an Electric Vehicles Policy, Strategy and Road-map which is meant to promote adoption of electric mobility in the country.

“Zimbabwe has vast renewable energy resources whose potential remains underutilised and as a ministry we will continue to seek innovative ways of promoting the exploitation of these resources guided by the vision to achieve universal access to sustainable and modern energy in Zimbabwe by 2030,” he said. 

Minister Moyo shed light on Africa’s escalating electricity demand, which has soared by 75 percent from 2012 to 2022. Despite this surge, the per capita electricity demand is projected to grow from 500 kilowatt-hours in 2022 to approximately 700kw by 2030, still trailing behind developed nations.

Minister Edgar Moyo

“If Africa and indeed Zimbabwe is to make significant strides towards achieving universal access to clean, sustainable reliable and affordable energy by 2030, it is important for us to have robust policy interventions and mechanisms to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy conservation. 

“We are glad that we have tendered our National Energy Efficiency Policy to Cabinet for approval and adoption,” he said.

Zimbabwe boasts a suite of energy policies, including the National Energy Policy of 2012, National Renewable Energy Policy of 2019, Biofuels Policy of Zimbabwe of 2019, and drafts for both National Energy Efficiency and Electric Vehicle Policies.

These policies have catalysed investment inflows into the renewable sector, with the imminent commissioning of independent power producer projects like the 5MW solar plant near Victoria Falls airport.

With a spike in fuel demand due to increased vehicle imports and electricity deficits, Minister Moyo called upon industry stakeholders, academia, and financial entities to invest in lithium battery research and development.

Gratitude was extended to international partners like the United Nations and African Development Bank for their role in deploying clean energy solutions in rural locales, complemented by the Rural Electrical Fund’s efforts to amplify rural electrification access.

The conference, themed “Building a sustainable energy future,” has established itself as a pivotal event, shaping the renewable energy narrative with delegates from 10 countries engaging in vital discussions on climate change.

Speaking at the same event, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said the province is endowed with vast natural resources including coal and coalbed methane as well as the largest power plant in the country, Hwange Thermal Power Station. 

He said there is vast potential of 23 Mega Joules per square metre from solar energy and hot springs that can also be exploited to generate electricity.

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