Energy and Power Development minister Fortune Chasi says Zimbabwe has urgent energy needs, but investors must fit into his ministry’s national energy plan which was announced yesterday.
BY LORRAINE MUROMO
According to the African Development Bank, Zimbabwe needs an investment of at least US$2 billion into the economy annually to attain an upper middle-income status by 2030.
Energy players and legislators have often complained that the Energy ministry’s policies were making it difficult to attract investment into the sector.
“Investors have to fit within the national energy plan, we tell them what we want, not the other way around,” Chasi said at the official launch of the national renewable energy and biofuels policies in Harare.
The adoption of the policies is meant to ensure that there is energy security, especially in the electricity and transport sectors that are currently constrained by drought and fuel shortages, respectively.
The reasons behind these constraints are drought, which has significantly reduced Zimbabwe’s electricity generation capacity and foreign currency shortages that have made it difficult for fuel operators to adequately supply the market.
Currently, Zimbabwe is producing an average of 600 megawatts (MW) against a national demand of between 1 800MW and 2 200MW, with the deficit having to being imported.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s renewable energy potential from mini hydro stations, solar, wind and biomass is
To reduce the demand for fuel, the biofuels policy has set the blending ratio for petrol, with ethanol, at between 10% and 20% while it seeks to increase biodiesel production to 2% of the total market requirements.
Zimbabwe has a daily demand of about 3,3 million and 4,3 million litres of petrol and diesel, respectively.
Chasi’s remarks are in stark contrast to his boss, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who told guests at the launch of the policies that the country could realise great investment from the launch of the policies.
“It gives me great pleasure to officiate at the launch of two key policies, the national renewable energy policy and bio-fuels policy of Zimbabwe. These two policies are being unveiled at a time when our great nation is realising increased investment in the renewable energy sector. This is testimony to my government’s commitment to give impetus to the implementation of renewable energy projects,” Mnangagwa said.
“It is against this background that we are launching these two policies today as part of the broader effort to diversify our energy sources and increase investments into the energy sector.”
He said renewable energy was a good option and a preferable source of energy throughout the world as it had technologies that are climate friendly which leads to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
“As government we are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33% per capita by 2030, therefore, we are open to more investments in the sector as there is need to expedite projects since energy is a key enabler and driver of economic development,” Mnangagwa said.
He noted how Zimbabwe had not been spared from extensive power outages and that the situation had been worsened by climate change, therefore, necessitating the switch to renewable energy.
In regard to the biofuels policy, Mnangagwa said it was a policy framework for the production, investments and use of liquid biofuels.
“Government took a deliberate decision to blend petrol with bio-ethanol from sugarcane and this will help in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We are equally determined to promote research and development of bio-fuels,” he said.