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We are committed to providing adequate energy: Government

Honourable Soda Zhemu, the Minister of Energy and Power Development

The government, through the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, is working towards providing efficient energy generation and/or production, transmission, distribution and utilisation.

This was communicated by the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Honourable Soda Zhemu during a recent National Energy Efficiency Policy (NEEP) validation workshop that took place in Harare recently.

The Minister said energy efficiency presents vast opportunities that can be realized in the economic sectors of the country. He said his Ministry is committed to providing an Energy Efficiency Policy that has concrete recommendations and novel strategies that will result in tangible positive results.

“I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of efficiency practices, in the energy supply and demand chain, and the role played in socio-economic development of a country. A country cannot develop sustainably in the absence of adequate energy supply,” said Minister Zhemu.

He highlighted that Zimbabwe was experiencing an intermittent power supply situation characterized by supplementing through power imports and load shedding in order to protect the grid network.

“This is happening despite the fact that average electricity access is only 44%, the majority of those with access being urban dwellers. I am informed that electricity access in rural areas is a measly 13% – a figure we wish to correct as we approach the 2030 horizon. Going forward, we want to ensure that those who have access to modern energy services embrace energy efficiency practices and technologies which are modern and sustainable.

“The demand for electricity in the country currently stands at about 1700MW and this is met through an internal generation of (700-1300MW), imports from our neighbours (50-300MW) and resulting in load shedding during peak periods when imports are not secured.

“The demand for diesel and petrol is about 5 million liters per day and is met through imports. The demand for the energy products is growing every day because of increased socio-economic activities in the country, which is evidence of the sound policies being implemented by the Second Republic. If the country is to realize His Excellency, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa’s vision of attaining an upper middle income economy by 2030, a lot of effort have to go into making energy available to all our citizens.”

The Ministry, he said, was developing policies and legislation that creates a conducive environment for investment and sustainable energy supply.

“Policies and legislation already developed include; the National Energy Policy of 2012, the National Renewable Energy Policy of 2019, the National Biofuels policy of 2019,the Electricity Act of 2002, the Petroleum Act of 2006, the Rural Electrification Fund Act of 2003,the Energy Regulatory Act of 2011 among other various Statutory Instruments (SIs).

“Ladies and gentlemen, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy are considered to be the twin pillars of sustainable energy supply. As such, the Energy Efficiency Policy which we are validating today will augment the policies outlined above.

“The development of an Energy Efficiency Policy ensures that the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) objective to achieve energy efficiencies through use of minimum level of energy to obtain the maximum economic output whilst minimising harm to people and the environment is met.”

He also highlighted that Government through the Ministry of Environment has also developed various policy documents that seek to address the adverse impacts of climate change.

“Among these are the Climate Change Policy, the Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) among others. A few days ago, His Excellency pointed out that, the revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of 2021 will seek to reduce greenhouse Gas Emissions by 40% per capita across all sectors of the economy. We expect the Energy Efficiency Policy to have a contribution to these NDC emission reduction targets.

“Energy Efficiency in all sectors of the economy results in; saving of the scarce energy resources that the country has;reduces demand on foreign currency and capital which will be channeled to other productive sectors;creates jobs;meeting the climate change goal of limiting global warming to 1.5OC; meeting the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets; and improvement in public health and social well-being as is stipulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Reduction of unnecessary industrial production cost which will entail competitiveness of products on international markets.”

It has been pointed out that the scope of the Energy Efficiency Policy will cover all sectors of the economy since energy is a key enabler in all sectors.

“It will be extended to households, farms, agro-processing industries and municipalities.

“I am glad to reveal that Government has already initiated the energy efficient lighting project by promoting the use of energy savers in place of inefficient incandescent light bulbs. It is estimated that the use of efficient lights in households is already saving us upto 40MW of electricity. We expect such a project to be extended to public lighting at municipalities and all public buildings. Going forward, this policy is expected to give clear direction on all energy efficient initiatives.”

In addition to efficient lighting at household level, the minister said, various other initiatives can also be adopted across all sectors of the economy.

“These include: use of solar geysers in place of electric geysers use of efficient cookstoves in both peri-urban and rural households use of efficient electric motors and pumps in industry efficient lighting coupled to potable solar systems power factor correctionelectric mobility, adoption of smart metering and Switching Off Switches (S.O.S) among others.”

The Minister also called upon all stakeholders (including research institutions, technical colleges, universities and equipment manufacturers and general energy consumers) in the energy sector to work towards the common goal of developing an efficient and sustainable energy sector which will exploit the abundant natural endowment of renewable energy resources such as biomass, wind, solar and hydropower, among others that the country has.

“I call upon both public entities and the private sector to invest in energy efficient technologies in order to reduce the country’s dependence on imported electricity and highly polluting fossil fuels.”

He extended his gratitude to different stakeholders for cooperating with the Ministry in developing the policy.

“Special thanks goes to the Climate Change Management Department and UNDP for providing the financial and material support that has afforded the exercise to rich this far. I implore you to remain focused and tackle issues of national importance as a united front for the betterment of socio-economic development of our nation,” he concluded.

Speaking at the same occasion, UN Development Programme(UNDP) representative said the development of the Zimbabwe’s NEEP was taking place at a time when the country was implementing rolling load shedding to meet the energy needs of its populace.

“Acknowledgment should be given to the Government of Zimbabwe’s efforts to address current challenges into the future through notable clean energy generation investments such as the recently concluded Kariba South power expansion and Batoka George project that is in the pipeline. To compliment these electricity generation efforts, the Government of Zimbabwe is also promoting cross sectorial energy efficiency practices implementation.”

According to UNDP, the National Energy Audit of 2015 has identified that the country has the potential to save approximately 377MW of electricity through embracing Energy Efficiency practices alone.

“This is a significant amount, equivalent to the solar PV generation target in the Zimbabwe’s first generation Nationally Determined Contribution. There is therefore need for a deliberate move to enforce and encourage people to adopt an energy efficiency culture.”

UNDP highlighted that the validation meeting comes at a critical juncture when Zimbabwe recently submitted its second generation NDC to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change last week.

“Zimbabwe has committed to an updated economy wide GHG emission reduction target of 40% per capita compared to BAU by 2030, conditional on international support. This target is a 7% increase from the first generation NDC, which is a fair and ambitious target and demonstrates the nation’s commitment and leadership in advancing green economic growth as we build back forward better after the devastating effects of COVID-19.”

Further, UNDP underscored, the 2021 Green Jobs Assessment study done by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has identified that implementation of off-grid solar and energy efficiency measures in Zimbabwe has the potential of creating approximately an additional 8,000 jobs in the economy.

“The development of the Energy Efficiency Policy therefore feeds directly to the attainment of Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) objective of achieving energy efficiency levels that ensure use of minimum levels of energy to obtain the maximum economic output whilst simultaneously diminishing harm to people and the environment.

“Making clean energy sources available to most people in Zimbabwe without access to electricity will cause a major shift forward in human development and accelerate the achievement of all Sustainable Development Goals.

“Given the chance, and with proper funding, clean energy will: transform lives, especially in rural areas where most schools and health facilities have no access to regular power. and will set the country on the right path to address climate change and ensure no one is left behind.”

Through its Climate Promise, UNDP is helping countries to turn the Paris Agreement goals into action.

To date, UNDP supports 119 countries to raise ambitions on their NDCs and now it offers up expertise, to achieving these goals – as well as catalyze jobs, incomes, and new infrastructure.

UNDP’s support for NDCs, has contributed to the country’s increased mitigation and adaptation ambition, and inclusion of gender and youth-meaningful activities, as well as engagement of the private sector.

“Thus, UNDP is pleased to be partnering with the Government to validate this important Energy Efficiency Policy whose process started in 2020 with development of a background study report.

“We know that implementing the measures in this policy document will also result in lower prices to the populace and translate into greater demand for manufactured products and overall higher manufacturing activity in the country. UNDP remains committed to supporting Zimbabwe to meet its socio-economic growth targets as reflected in our new Country Programme Document for the period (2022-2026), strategic Priority -Environmental protection, climate resilience and natural resource management,” added UNDP.

The energy stakeholders workshop was attended by the leadership of the Manyara Irene Muyenziwa Foundation (MIM) that considers a reliable supply of energy as the cornerstone for Zimbabwe’s economic revival.

“A reliable energy supply is the cornerstone for Zimbabwe’s economic revival. In the agriculture sector for example, Zimbabwe has vast natural water bodies. However, most water bodies like rivers and dams are not being utilised for energy because off a lack of energy to run irrigation schemes. As MIM Foundation, we are tapping into the use of renewable energy like solar and biogas to revive agriculture across the provinces,” said Manyara Irene Muyenziwa, the Founder of MIM Foundation.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende