Harare – Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi says it is time for companies and households to turn to renewable energy sources to supplement the shortage of electricity that the country is currently facing.
Speaking at a National Energy Innovations Summit hosted by the Financial Gazette in the capital on Thursday, the minister said that to ensure business continuity households, business and industry need to adopt solar use to ease pressure on the national electricity grid.
Zimbabwe currently produces 500MW at Hwange Thermal Station against a daily peak demand of 1600MW. The country however has the capacity to produce up to 1300MW shared between Hwange and Kariba power stations. Zimbabwe has failed to maximise this capacity due to the El Nino induced drought that hit the country in the 2018/2019 season and antiquated equipment at the Hwange plant.
These factors, combined with the country’s inability to adequately import has resulted in 18 hours of electricity cuts.
The country equally owes money to South Africa’s power utility, Eskom and Mozambique’s Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa, which are the country’s major additional electricity external suppliers.
Minister Chasi said the government through his ministry together with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) and Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) are working on implementing policies that ensure the use of renewable energy in the country through the Renewable Energy Policy (REP) which will be launched in the coming weeks.
“The renewable energy policy will be launched soon…we also encourage households, business and industry to adopt solar to ensure business continuity,” Minister Chasi said.
He encouraged ZESA to be innovative in order to remain in operation especially with the rate of vandalism of electrical equipment such as transformers and with debts owed to other organisations.
“ZESA should be innovative or else one day the system will shut down especially with debts owed and vandalism,” he said.
Among these major innovations recommended are the use of solar power, with the government aiming towards a policy of duty and VAT free importation of solar geezer equipment and using solar energy in all new buildings including the new parliament building.
The government is also looking into importing electric cars as they save on the use of fuel hence saving energy use as well as reducing the levels of pollution but in order to be able to implement the use of the cars, special infrastructure is needed hence they are calling on investors and private players to apply for licenses and ensure the successful implementation of electric car use.
ZERA is said to have issued more than 20 licences to private players such as Hippo Valley Estates (30MW), Triangle Estates (45MW), Green Fuel (18.30MW), Duru mini hydro (2.20) among others but most have failed to deliver their end of the deal and these are likely to lose these licenses.
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