Kudakwashe Mhundwa & Kumbirai Tarusarira
HARARE – Government will next month launch the Renewable Energy and Bio-fuels energy policy which are aimed at increasing the country`s power sources, Minister of Energy and Power Development Gloria Magombo has said.
Renewable energy is increasingly becoming popular with global financiers given its friendliness to the environment, compared to thermal energy with some giants in renewable energy from the United Arab Emirates, having begun showing interest in setting up 100 MW wind and solar power plants in the country.
Addressing delegates at the launch of the Econet Willowvale Solar Plant Eng Magombo said Government is aware of challenges being faced by the country`s energy sector and is work flat out to address them in a bid to achieve Government`s vision 2030 of obtain an upper middle class status.
“As Government we are aware of challenges that we face in the energy sector and we are working diligently with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory authority to reduce barriers and bottle necks which Independent Power Producers are facing.
“We are about to launch our Renewable Energy Policy in this coming month which will see the uptake of renewable energy going even higher, we have already promulgated the necessary regulations which will allow corporates to be able to get the economic benefits of running these own system to meet your own demand and also during times you are not able to use that demand feed it into the grid.
“The bio-fuels policy and the renewables policy are going to be launched together at the same time we are going through the process of approvals within the Government we hope that next month will be inviting you for the official launch of the two polices,” said Eng Magombo
“In addition as part of the Government vision 2030 to ensure that Zimbabwe becomes a middle income economy we believe that such initiatives such as these are vital for the transformation, power is the key to unlocking the vast potential this country has in all key sectors including manufacturing, mining, agriculture, health and education,”
IRENA, a global institution with 160 members as at last year, has already extended technical assistance to Zimbabwe, which was useful in evaluating the development cost and applicable tariffs for solar projects at 16 sites across the country.
The technical and financial appraisals by IRENA show that the capital cost of solar projects is now much lower than previously anticipated. Tariffs for solar have also reached grid-parity, implying that the cost of solar power plants is now lower than that of conventional coal power plants.
Countries such as Germany, Chile and Egypt are now benefiting from solar electricity fed into the grid at less than 5c per kilowatt hour (kWh). This was achieved after the countries changed their procurement methods from unsolicited bids and renewable energy feed-in tariffs (REFIT) to renewable energy auctions.
Last year, IRENA conducted pre-feasibility studies for wind at five sites in Zimbabwe and the results have since been submitted to the Ministry of Energy.