Joseph Madzimure and Nesia Mhaka
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday launched two energy policies, effectively setting the tone for the development and sustainable exploitation of renewable energy.
The National Renewable Energy policy and Biofuels policy of Zimbabwe seek to promote optimal supply and utilisation of energy for socio-economic development.
Government is seeking to prioritise the exploitation of renewable energy and a guideline on its structure.
The main objectives of the launch were to present both policies to key stakeholders, forge stronger relationships, showcase renewable energy companies as well as to present the roadmap for strategies.
Before the launch, President Mnangagwa toured several exhibition stands.
Addressing investors and players in the energy sector, President Mnangagwa said the two policies would help Government to ensure energy security in the country.
“Those two policies are being unveiled at a time when our great nation is realising increased investment in the renewable energy sector. This event is testimony to my Government’s commitment to give impetus to the implementation of renewable energy projects. This will go a long way towards the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number seven, which seeks to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” said President Mnangagwa.
He commended all stakeholders who contributed in the development of the policies.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe, like other countries in the region, had not been spared from critical power shortages that have resulted in extensive power outages for both domestic and commercial consumers.
The situation, he said had been worsened by adverse effects of climate change.
“Government is, thus aware that renewable energy has become a good option and a preferable source of energy throughout the world. Its technologies are climate-friendly and their adoption leads to a reduction in Green House Gases (GHG) emissions.
“Energy is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases emissions globally, and any strategy to reduce emissions must take into account the provision of clean sustainable energy to minimise the emission of these gases.
“As a country, we have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent per capita by 2030. It is my Government’s hope that these positive developments will result in more investment and opportunities in the energy sector,” he said.
In addition, President Mnangagwa said Government would facilitate the establishment of new projects that will increase power generation
“While in the past, the rate at which renewable energy projects were being adopted and implemented was slow, there is need to expedite projects roll out as these will impact on our modernisation and industrialisation agenda.
“It is against this background that we are launching these two policies as part of the broader effort to diversify our energy sources and increase investments into the energy sector.
“Research has demonstrated the need to optimally use electricity and hence, we continue to appeal for the conservative use of energy by both domestic and industrial users,” said President Mnangagwa.
He challenged the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to craft relevant regulations that drive efficient production and use of energy by all consumers.
Turning to the National Renewable Energy policy, he said it advocates for an increase in the share of renewable energy in the overall energy mix.
“This resonates with the SDG and our national development strategies. The policy also seeks to address the impact of climate change and focuses on driving cost effective utilisation of sustainable energy sources,” he said.
More importantly, the President said it addressed social development, youth and gender mainstreaming.
The policy also aims to address the barriers that hinder the uptake of renewable energy in the country especially in rural areas and farming communities.
The President challenged local authorities throughout the country, to take advantage of the new policy thrust to avail land and facilities for renewable energy projects.
He also implored the financial service sector to develop financial products to facilitate the adoption and implementation of renewable energy projects.
He commended mining companies and large industries for developing solar power plants for their own consumption with excess being fed into the national grid.
As a country, President Mnangagwa said: “We have been experiencing intermittent and limited supplies of petroleum products. These challenges, coupled with instability in the pricing of petroleum commodities and speculative tendencies by retailers and consumers has seen us witnessing disturbing fuel queues, which waste productive time.”
The Biofuel Policy of Zimbabwe, President Mnangagwa said is a policy framework for the production, investment and use of liquid bio-fuels.
He said Government took a deliberate decision to blend petrol with bio-ethanol from sugar cane to help in the reduction of greenhouse emissions.
The two policies, he said would help to ensure energy security.
“Increased investments are welcome in the renewable energy sub-sector as we embrace the vast opportunities offered by renewable energy technologies towards an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030,” he added.
Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi, Harare Metropolitan Provincial Minister Oliver Chidawu, senior Government officials and the business community attended the launch.