Zimbabwe in ambitious energy renewable target

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls

GOVERNMENT has set an ambitious target of producing more than 2 000MW of renewable energy by 2030 while a US$10 million green fund facility has been secured to finance clean energy projects.

Energy and Power Development Minister, Soda Zhemu revealed this during the 3rd International Renewable Energy Conference and Expo, which ended here yesterday.

Minister Zhemu said the transformation of Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income society by 2030 requires commitment to rapidly deploy modern energy solutions.

This comes as the country has been experiencing intermittent power supply gaps, which has led to load-shedding particularly during peak hours and has been occasioned by a constrained generation capacity.

Minister Zhemu said in keeping with this mandate, Government was implementing various projects either as public or private sector led models to ensure social-economic development.

“This renewable energy conference could not have come at a better time than this considering the benefit of deployment of renewable energy technology in dealing with our energy power situation,” he said.

“My ministry’s strategic goal is to achieve and install renewable capacity of 1 100MW or 16,5 percent of total electricity, or whichever is higher by 2025 and 2 100MW or 26 percent by 2030.

“I am glad to announce that my ministry successfully applied for US$10 million green funding from the sustainable development goal fund, which will be deployed towards capacity building and project development.

“The fund, which has a focus towards women and youth is expected to reach up to US$45 million through coal financing and local financing institutions.

“We will be launching this renewable energy fund as soon as all administrative processes have been made,” said Minister Zhemu.

He said the Ministry of Energy and Power Development has adopted a number of instruments aimed at ensuring that energy efficiency and renewable solutions were quickly adopted by consumers.

Two draft documents, the Power Purchase Agreement and Government Support Implement Agreement, both of which are at an advanced stage of adoption, have already been put in place.

In order to accelerate participation of private sector in project development, Minister Zhemu said, energy and finance portfolios have been working with the African Legal Opportunities Facility under the banner of the African Development Bank to come up with competitive procurement framework.

Some of the statutes are around customs and excise regulations, importation of solar equipment and ban on use of inefficient appliances and net metering regulations.

All these regulations and policy instruments are aimed at accelerating adoption of renewable energy and enhancing energy efficiency, which is one of the resolutions of the United Nations Cop26.

These energy solutions are expected to raise employment levels and reduce poverty rates to levels consistent with the upper middle-income society.

Minister Zhemu said the country expects to see an influx of investment in the renewable energy sector and an accelerated implementation of various projects that had halted.

Apart from signing agreements with power utility ZETDC, the Independent Power Producers can generate electricity and sell to customers of their choice in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the regulator is seized with ensuring that fees are not prohibitive in order to promote realisation of that policy provision.

As such, Minister Zhemu said the conference provides a framework of how Cop26 resolutions can then be pursued, as it also proposed an implementation matrix, which will result in a basis for review of achievements of nationally determined goals.

He said there is a need to beneficiate the country’s mineral resources, adding that the theme of the conference: Net Zero Africa” was apt and resonates well with medium term and long-term aspirations to de-carbonise the energy sector using sustainable energy technology.

Addressing the same conference, Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Richard Moyo, said the renewable energy conference was an opportunity to invest in alternative clean energy and creating employment.

“In terms of energy infrastructure, we have the biggest solar plant in Hwange district while another is under construction.

We also have the biggest thermal power plant, which is being upgraded and biggest independent thermal power producer.

All this makes this province a powerhouse in the country,” said Minister Moyo.

He said several other independent power producers have started implementing projects in the province, which is testimony that Matabeleland North is set to become a leading renewable energy hub in the near future.

“As a province in line with NDS1, we are going to continue to promote investment in the renewable energy in a drive to realise Vision 2030 and address global aspirations of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa Agenda 2063,” said Minister Moyo.

– @ncubeleon

Article Source: The Chronicle

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