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Power-starved Zim working on renewable energy policy

The Ministry of Energy and Power Development is working on a renewable energy policy aimed at encouraging citizens to migrate to renewable energy sources in a bid to lessen the burden on power generation in the country. 

The country has been facing severe electricity challenges due to its major power sources struggling to keep up with the demand. 

Citizens who are enduring up to 18 hours of electricity blackout have been forced to migrate to other energy sources such as solar.

Responding to a question in Parliament, Thursday, Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development, Magna Mudyiwa said the country’s electricity supply remained low hence the need to encourages citizens to migrate to renewable energy sources. 

“Yes, our electricity supply is low and we always talk about it. A number of reasons caused that but as a Ministry of Energy and Power Development, for the country to have the little electricity that we have, it is because we are buying electricity outside the country from South Africa through Eskom, from Mozambique in Carbora Bassa and EDM,  that is where we are buying our electricity from,” said Hon Mudyiwa. 

“Coupled with that, we are encouraging citizens to embark on renewable solar energy.  Companies who are able to generate solar energy, some companies like Pepsi, Econet had installed solar plants at their premises – we are encouraging companies who are able to generate their own energy from solar because we have a lot of sun in Zimbabwe – that is what we are encouraging.  We have a Renewable Energy Policy as Government that is going to be launched very soon and we are encouraging the use of renewable energy.”

Hon Mudyiwa said the government is also going to reduce the application process for a licence as part of incentives to encourage people to use renewable energy sources. 

“We have incentives in place where we are saying some of the equipment for solar energy like solar plant batteries which are made of lithium are imported duty-free. 

“Also the licensing issue, we have the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) which processes the licences. Before, the licence processing would take more than six months to process but we are reducing the period to about a month. You will see a lot of development as regards to the processing of power licences,” she said. 

Hon Mudyiwa added: “In the duty payment, I think I mentioned about the duty that we have advocated with the Ministry of Finance that some of the equipment that we need for solar plants is brought in duty-free. I cannot specify which equipment exactly but I remember the lithium batteries which are specifically meant for solar energy.”

The Deputy Minister also encouraged companies to invest in solar energy.

“We are encouraging companies who are able to generate their own energy from solar because we have a lot of sun in Zimbabwe that is what we are encouraging,” she said. 

“We are also encouraging Independent Power  Producers  (IPPs) who want to construct mini-hydro power stations in all our dams. We are encouraging that all the dams that can generate hydropower should be utilized and  (IPPs) should engage in that.”

Mudyiwa added that the government was working on increasing power generation at the existing power plants.  

“As government, again we have ongoing projects at Hwange Thermal Power Station, that is Units 7 and 8 Extension. It is being constructed right now and we believe that the first unit will be operational next year in 2021 and the other one in 2022. We will be getting 600 MW in addition to the supply that we have,” she said. 

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