THE government yesterday launched the national renewable energy and biofuels policies to mitigate the effects of climate change and promote investments at a time when the country is struggling with persistent energy deficits that have been exacerbated by the economic meltdown.
The newly-launched national renewable energy policy aims to promote investment in the renewable sector by providing specific incentives and national project status to all renewable energy projects as well as reduction in licensing fees and relaxation in licensing requirements for renewable energy projects.
The biofuel policy has been developed to create an enabling environment for viable biofuels projects and open up space for more players.
Speaking during the launch in the capital, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe has not been spared power shortages that are affecting the southern region of the continent due to adverse effects of climate change, thus the mantra of renewable energy.
“Renewable energy has become a good option and preferable source of energy throughout the world as the globe is moving towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and as a country we are committed to reducing gas emissions by 33 percent by the year 2030,” Mnangagwa said.
“The government took a deliberate decision to blend fuel with ethanol as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“I hope that the launch will increase investment opportunities in the energy sector as government will also introduce new projects that will open up space for more players in the sector. The biofuels policy promotes and allows for a level playing field for all players who want to venture into the biofuels value chain,” said the 77-year-old leader.
He commended all stakeholders who contributed to the development of the policies, adding that their efforts will on a broader effect increase investments.
Energy and Power Development minister Fortune Chasi said the policy seeks the establishment of a green-energy fund for renewable energy to promote efficiency and use of renewables, with the aim of increasing electricity production.
He said there is need for improvement of socio-economic conditions and regulations are being aligned to the policies, including the SI 147 of 2010 on duty-free importation of solar products.
“The primary objectives of the renewable energy policy are setting of overall targets for renewable energy based on the National Determined Contributions submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, demand-supply scenario, rid absorption capacity, and the ability to pay for renewable energy electricity,” Chasi said.
“The policy aims to achieve an installed renewable energy capacity of 1 100 MW (excluding large hydro) of total electricity supply by year 2025, and 2 100 MW of total electricity supply by year 2030.
“The installed capacity of renewable energy, excluding large scale hydropower, is expected to increase from about five percent in the year 2017 to about 27 percent in year 2030 and the country shall install more than 250 000 solar geysers in old (as retrofits) and new buildings by the year 2030.
Chasi added that there will be mandatory solar geysers regulations for new buildings and this will compel owners of newly-constructed buildings to fit solar water geysers on rooftops to regulate electricity consumption from the national grid.
“Other additional alternative energy programmes include institutional and domestic biogas digesters, solar mini-grids and solar water pumping systems. These targets will enable the country to meet the current and projected energy supply deficit as well as meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction objectives,” Chasi said.
Meanwhile, the country has been marred by electricity outages and scarcity of petroleum products which has cut into production time and severely affected industries, hence the need for a consistent and sustainable ethanol blending ratio of up to 20 percent by 2030 and the introduction of biodiesel at a blending ratio of up to two percent.