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Govt intensifies renewable energy growth bid

GOVERNMENT says its renewable energy policy implementation is progressing in line with global calls to ease the impact of global warming.

Global experts on climate change adaptation have implored authorities to speed up adoption of renewable energy to mitigate the negative impact of global warming.

Research from the Zimbabwe Energy Council shows that the country has a renewable energy potential of 1 872 megawatts (MW) of power, at a time when the electricity deficit is between 1 200 and 1 600MW.

Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Gloria Magombo said government was intensifying initiatives that help boost the development of renewable energy.

“Policy implementation is in progress. Various IPPs are under construction and already licensed, new renewable energy competitive procurement is under way,” she said.

“Mines and other companies as well as agricultural estates are building rooftop (solar systems) and ground-mounted systems to bank and feed the grid. Most new suburbs are installing solar home systems.”

At the fourth edition of the International Renewable Energy Conference and Expo 2022 hosted by Alpha Media Holdings in March, government revealed that it had requested Zimbabwe’s 70 licensed independent power producers (IPPs) to start making meaningful input into the national grid.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, more than 90 licenses have been issued to IPPs with renewable energy projects, but only 20 had shown progress.

Currently, Zimbabwe is participating in the development of the green hydrogen atlas for Africa — an initiative which is meant to come up with data to confirm the possibility to produce green hydrogen from various water sources and renewable energy.

Magombo said hydrogen could be used for power generation, fertilisers manufacturing, transport fuel, metal refining and heating, hence a framework will be developed for green hydrogen once the study is completed.

Local energy firm, Sustenergy is spearheading the country’s efforts to unlock its green hydrogen potential together with government.

However, the permanent secretary said government had a programme to rehabilitate old equipment of the existing power sources in order to avoid future challenges.

“The antiquated equipment is real. What is critical is that it is replaced and maintenance is done timeously to avoid further challenges. We have a programme under NDS1 to rehabilitate old equipment and have secured over US$300 million loan through the Indian government assistance for life extension of the units 1 to 6 at Hwange and another US$100 million for Bulawayo Power Station repowering. These programmes will include complete replacement of some main plant equipment like boilers with new equipment and technology,” she said.

“With units 7 and 8 coming on board by end of next year, it will help allow for scheduling of this work. We advocate for energy efficiency from all consumer groups as this will assist in reducing demand. We also believe industry also has antiquated equipment which needs to be replaced.”

Government is looking to generate 2 000MW in renewable energy by 2030, excluding large hydro projects. – (Newsday)

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