Energy in Zimbabwe has become an issue of serious concern in the country.Extensive use of firewood leads to deforestation and the electricity production capacity is inadequate for the current level of consumption.
In rural areas of Zimbabwe, 80-90% of people are heavily dependent on wood fuel, light their homes with kerosene,and carry out essential food processing tasks, such as milling grain, using diesel-powered systems.Total electricity generation in 2009 stood at 7,900 GWh, of which 53.3%, or 4,303 GWh,was produced from renewable sources.Electricity consumption per capita in 2009 stood at 1,022 kWh (REEEP,2012).
Zimbabwe’s electricity is mainly produced at the Kariba Dam Hydroelectric Power Station (about 750 MW), Hwange Thermal Power Station which has an installed capacity of (920 MW) and at three minor coal fired stations.
Vulnerability to climate change
Zimbabwe is severely vulnerable to climate change and its vulnerability is set to increase between 2010 and 2030 (DARA; Climate Vulnerability Monitor,2012).It is ranked 156th on the Human Development Index (UNDP;Human Development Index,2014).
Zimbabwe’s CO2 emissions are 0.7 tonnes per capita, while the global average is 4.9 tonnes per capita (World Bank; World Development Indicators: Energy dependency, efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions,2010).Given the varied nature of Zimbabwe’s biophysical characteristics, vulnerability to climate change is likely to vary significantly across the country.
Why should Zimbabwe move towards a Renewable Clean Energy Revolution
Clean energy sources will always facilitate a green economy in the energy sector and can enhance socio-economic and sustainable development in Zimbabwe. Availability of sustainable, clean and reliable sources of energy is an essential driver for development: no country in modern times has substantially reduced poverty without a massive increase in its use of energy by realizing use of Renewable Energy where there is no access to fossil energy.
Potential Renewable clean energy sources
A lot of hydropower potential is seen along the Zambezi River. Solar Power also has an enormous potential in small and large scale. Wind and biogas energy also have a great potential.
How can Zimbabwe move forward to a renewable revolution and create job opportunities
•Improving access to financing new renewable energy technologies
According to IRENA 2014 global status report In order to expand energy markets to reach full energy access, the public sector needs to ensure political stability, which in turn sends a positive signal to investors.
•Investment opportunities in Zimbabwe energy Sector
The Energy sector in Zimbabwe presents immense investment opportunities, be it in Power development, Petroleum supply or in the renewable energy sub sectors.
•Realizing Zimbabwe’s capacity to create job opportunities in renewable energy sector
According to IRENA, in 2014 an estimated 7.7 million people worked directly or indirectly in the sector, with an additional 1.5 million in large-scale hydropower.Solar PV is the largest employer, with 2.5 million jobs. Zimbabwe has abundant sunshine throughout the year and has a high potential in Solar PV.
•Government of Zimbabwe in the process of developing a renewable energy policy
Zimbabwe therefore is seeking to develop a renewable energy policy to provide the sector with guidelines and a path for creating a more conducive environment for attracting investment. (ZERA,2014).Though we have to move faster to increase our impact on energy poverty reduction and lower unemployment rate.
Zimbabwe has great capacity to fight climate change and lower unemployment rate of its citizens through investing in renewable clean energy.Renewables have been proven in climate mitigation and increasing various countries employment opportunities.Renewables have also proved to be a path to archive sustainable development.
As the effects of extreme weather are felt increasingly, more attention will need to be paid to how renewable energy can support adaptation activities so that energy services can be assured (Open hydro). Fellow Zimbabweans lets join the movement to fight climate change and realize the potential of developing our country.