Ref steps up biogas energy growth

The Rural Electrification Fund (REF) has constructed and commissioned 18 institutional biogas digesters at rural boarding schools and mission hospitals in 2015.The projects were part of the fund’s mandate to avail affordable and environmentally friendly energy to rural Zimbabwe.The benefiting institutions are using gas produced from the digesters mainly for cooking and water heating.

Officiating at the commissioning of the 100 m3 biogas digester at Mtshabezi High School in Gwanda, Energy and Power Development Secretary Mr Patson Mbiriri said unlike other forms of energy, biogas was cheaper and affordable to disadvantaged communities.

“Ladies and gentlemen many people are not aware of the vast potential presented by biogas technology to solve energy problems encountered in both urban and rural communities,” he said.

He said Zimbabwe had power challenges with hydroelectric and thermal power generation sources failing to sustain its requirements, hence the need to embrace biogas and other renewable energy technologies.

“I would like to urge schools, clinics, other Government institutions and rural households to take advantage of the technology and raise their standard of living through maximum utilisation of the biogas energy,” he said.

Mr Mbiriri said energy provision will lead to the economic empowerment of rural communities, poverty alleviation, capacity building and employment creation in rural communities in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister Tsitsi Muzenda said Government recognised the importance of energy as a vehicle for economic and social development.

She was addressing scores of villagers who gathered at St Albert’s Mission Hospital to witness the commissioning of a biogas digester constructed by the Rural Electrification Fund.

Deputy Minister Mzenda encouraged public institutions and villagers to exploit the technology.

“It is low cost clean energy option which can be used for lighting, cooking and heating, while on a large scale biogas technology can be used for electricity generation.

“Other benefits of the technology include reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, waste management and production of rich organic fertiliser for agricultural purposes,” she said.

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