Zim mulls energy policy

HARARE - Zimbabwe is formulating an energy policy aimed at curbing excessive load-shedding.

The policy will focus mainly on energy efficiency and conservation.

The southern African country - relying on hydro and thermal energy - equires around 2 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity but currently generates about 1 300 MW, importing the remainder.

Load shedding, lasting longer than 12 hours a day, have affected both commercial and domestic users.

"Energy efficiency and conservation measures have proved to be cost effective in many countries and could create a virtual power supply capacity of up to 300 MW in the case of Zimbabwe," said Raphael Tirivanhu, Energy ministry's director of power conservation.

He told a "National energy efficiency audit for Zimbabwe" stakeholder workshop yesterday that the virtual capacity could be obtained at much lower investment costs.

Tirivanhu said they would cost approximately $200 per kilowatt (KW) compared to new projects which cost $2 000 to $3 000.

"Furthermore, the gestation period for new projects is typically three to four years and this makes it imperative for the country to deploy other intervention measures like energy efficiency and conservation, which have a shorter implementation period," he said.

An analysis of the country's power supply base, published in a Zimbabwe Power Company report, revealed that Kariba remains the main source with 37,28 percent, followed by Hwange with 28,67 percent, Munyati at 1,44 percent, Bulawayo 1,24 percent, and Harare a mere 0,46
percent.

That left the remaining imported energy at 13,22 percent of total supplies.

Reliable energy, a key factor in economic development, is still a major challenge and Zimbabwe is nowhere near plugging its power deficit.

While the country has licensed several independent power producers, proposed energy generating projects are at different stages of implementation.

With 11 projects still on the drawing board, only the Kariba South Extension plan has inched forward and promises 300 megawatts for the national grid. The new Kariba plan, however, requires $400 million to take off.

Over the past few years, the national power utility, Zesa Holdings, has been installing fluorescent lights and extending and resuscitation of ripple control systems as a way of saving energy in the country.

Industry experts contend that energy efficiency also contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that cause environmental hazards such as acid rain and global warming through deferred commissioning of coal fired power plants.

"Energy efficiency is our low-hanging fruit that can be used in releasing capacity to other productive sectors of the economy.

Zimbabwe can therefore has no option in the short term other than to use energy efficiently," said Tirivanhu.

The southern African country has been experiencing increased power outages since 2007 due to a rise in electricity demand in the face of diminishing local generation capacity and limited imports.

Comments (2)

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Irrrigation Matters - 27 February 2014

Zimbabwe already has a National Energy Policy, I even have it, it has been around for years. What has changed could be the content, or it's probably a revision of the existing policy chete chete...

Jomo - 28 February 2014

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