Govt turns to renewable energy as power cuts intensify

Govt turns to renewable energy as power cuts intensify

HARARE, October 17 (The Source) –  Zimbabwe’s energy regulator will revise laws governing the industry to encourage investments in renewable energy to address crippling power shortages in the country, an official said on Thursday.

Energy secretary Patson Mbiriri told a workshop on renewable energy that Zimbabwe could generate 5000 megawatts of power from hydro sources, more than double its peak demand of 2 200MW. Power utility, Zesa is supplying 1,167 MW, including imports from Mozambique, leading to power cuts that have crippled Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector .

“We need to undertake new power generation in respect of the renewable energy, which we have in abundance,” Mbiriri said.

He said the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority was developing a Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariffs regulatory framework  to encourage and support  private sector participation.

” Our tariff regime is not rewarding enough. There is little if any returns and going forward tariffs should be based on costs,” he said.

The framework will be finalised before year end and would cover renewable energy sources such as solar, biomass, biogas, geothermal and hydro power.

Mbiriri said renewable energy came with its own challenges which include uncoordinated and unfocused research, poor back-up service, limited local expertise, resistance to new technologies, high upfront costs for promotion and adoption of technology and inadequate funding.