Zimbabwe To Develop A Stand-Alone Renewable Energy Policy

By Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwe is developing a stand-alone renewable energy policy to provide guidelines and a roadmap for the renewable energy sector, according to Engineer Gloria Magombo, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) Chief Executive Officer.

Magombo said her organisation is working with the Ministry of Energy and Power Development in developing the renewable energy policy for the country.

“The Terms of Reference have been finalized and ZERA is set to fund the project. The policy is set to address all the gaps such as incentives for increased uptake and investment in renewable and legislation, just to mention a few,” Magombo said.

She also added that the proposed policy is to create a more conducive environment for investment in the renewable energy sector.

“ZERA intends is initiating a consultative process to develop the renewable energy policy and we are going to involve a number of stakeholders. We also intend to learn from our South African counterparts to develop the policy. We have put up funds for the process and we expect in a few weeks to go to tender for the new policy development,” Magombo said.

Magombo said that the current energy policy of 2012 is fragmented and addresses a lot of issues and renewable energy issues are a component. She said having a separate renewable energy policy will help to propel the issues to a new level.

Issues addressed in the current energy policy include; Biomass covering wood fuels,, forest residue, bagasse, hydropower, liquid bio-fuels, solar promotion and regulations, animal drought power, wind energy and rural electrification, just to mention a few.

Some of the gaps which have been pin-pointed in the current energy sector, according to Magombo, include lack of a separate renewable energy policy, need for energy management regulations, lack of clean energy funding mechanisms and an IPP procurement framework and policy.

Zimbabwe’s current economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Sustainable Transformation (ZIMASSET) developed 2013 has set renewable and energy efficiency targets.

It aims to increase the use of renewable energy resources by 300MW by 2018 and to achieve Demand Side Management (DSM) of 300MW by 2018.

On bio-fuels, the targets are 20% import substitution of petrol by 2015 using ethanol through mandatory blending, 5% import substitution of diesel by 2020 using bio-diesel.

“ZERA is promoting the use of ethanol as it is a sustainable clean and renewable fuel for cooking,” says Engineer Magombo.

ZERA has also developed a Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff (REFIT) scheme which is yet to be implemented.

REFIT is a policy instrument that mandates power utilities operating on the national grid to purchase electricity from renewable energy sources at a pre-determined price so as to stimulate investment in the renewable sector.

“The feed in tariffs were developed for renewable energy technologies applicable to Zimbabwe such as solar PV, small hydro, biomass, bagasse and biogas. REFIT is meant to promote renewable energy projects up to a maximum capacity of 10MW,” Magombo added.

Some of the initiatives ZERA is doing to advance the sector include registering all renewable energy service providers operating in the country with a view to develop a database and to also facilitate the formation of a vibrant renewable energy association.

Although a ministry of Energy and Power Development spokesperson could not shed more light, he confirmed that the ministry was engaged in the process to develop the renewable energy policy with other stakeholders.

According to ZERA, Zimbabwe has a significant quantities of clean energy resources which can be tapped into for sustainable economic growth.

“The renewable energy policy is expected to address most of the challenges and issues in the clean energy sector,” Engineer Magombo said.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) is a body corporate established in terms of the Energy Regulatory Authority Act [Chapter 13:23] of 2011. It is mandated to regulate the entire energy sector in Zimbabwe in a fair, transparent, efficient and cost effective manner for the benefit of the consumers and energy suppliers. Its also derives its mandate from the Energy Regulatory Authority Act [Chapter 13:23] of 2011 read together with the Electricity Act no 4 of 2002 [Chapter 13:19] and its subsequent amendments and the Petroleum Act [Chapter 13:22] of 2006.

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