Making a case for renewable energy intervention in Zimbabwe


In my boyhood, I used to marvel at the lush green forest’s natural vegetation. They were so thick and abundantly vegetated with lovely growing grasslands. Biodiversity thrived and Bio-fuel energy sources were plenty. With population growth, this natural balance of the biosphere became lopsided. Since then, massive depletion of the forest cover due to aggressive cutting down of trees for firewood has been the order of the day. Population explosion in cities is also catalyst to the rise in energy demand. There has been passionate speculation with many arguing that previous governments in Zimbabwe were more resourceful in energy needs provision than the present.
What is lost to this school of thought is that the Zimbabwean population before 1980 hovered around 4 to 5 million whereas it now stands at 13 -15 million. That is times two and a third, today’s total population! In the early 1940s the population of the world was almost 3.5 billion. The more the world population expands resources decrease in total net output .Thomas Malthus, a British Analyst and leading Economist of the 18th century predicted that in the coming 300 years from his time, World population would balloon to 6 billion . Today we are 7 billion and counting. Faced with many problems, above all household issues like Energy. Climate change and variation resulting from severe global warming continue to play a role in energy demand.
Most households in Africa face energy challenges and this puts pressure on the family’s disposable incomes. Energy requirements for families are increasing at a time when the environmental degradation continues unabated. As such, energy efficiency remains key and alternative sources of energy need to be provided. Around the world there are 10 common energy types. The most accessible of these forms being Hydro- Electricity which is generated from water. In Zimbabwe, 40% of its people have access to its power while 60% have no access to it .The onus however, remains with citizens to campaign for Renewable Energy to achieve a Green Revolution which places less demand on none renewable energy sources. Engineer Dhiwa, from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, pointed out that his Ministry was already working on Renewable Energy projects to tackle
energy shortages.
‘’The cost of renewable energy technology may be high but we need to buttress Renewable Energy projects. The Energy policy we are working on is a master plan for National development, so we need to work with stakeholders to reach the UN 2030 Target’’ he says.
Undoubtedly, there are many factors in play for the ideals to be achieved. The Green Revolution can only be achieved if countries fully commit to reducing Green House Gases like carbon-dioxide which affects the ozone layer.
‘’Apart from policy make up currently a focus on, we are urging Industries to promote the manufacture of Renewable Energy Technology’ .The BUY Zimbabwe campaign is by no doubt vital , especially at a time we are promoting foreign currency flow into our country. As long as we stand vibrant and upright in promoting local product manufacturing … we can win on the Sustainable Development Goals without any doubt ‘’.’ Engineer Dhiwa concluded.
A practitioner, from the Zimbabwe Renewable Energy Council – Simba Sibanda also concurs and notes that there is need for governments to deliver 70% Renewable Energy to their people so as to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. He adds, ‘’for this to be a success story, Investments in energy must be supported at a national level. Policy draft stands vital for us to win on goals of sustainable energy .As we focus on investing billions of dollars, let us focus on investing sharp knowledge in renewable energy strategy for a green revolution in order to have a win- win situation in Africa’’.
A glowing example is South Africa which has invested US$10 billion in renewable energy for a 100 percent Green Revolution for markets that sold technological products for the country’s economic growth. In Zimbabwe, Government has the Rural Energy Master plan Service Provision which strives to expand rural electrification through the Rural Electrification Agency under the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority. The country has also distributed Solar mini Grids in schools .Some households have solar water heating and solar geysers of 250 to 300 Megawatts.
Power For All Campaign Manager, Chiedza Mazaiwana supports efforts at engaging Government and Private Sector , forging stakeholder partnerships and engaging the media to shove and push the campaign .
‘’Africa is set to increase access to power for all. It is also good enough that this is clean energy that we are striving to achieve. In Zimbabwe if we have 40% with access to power and 60% without , it tells us a struggle story in the campaign for power for all by 2030 ’’said Mazaiwana.
Energy Experts predict that 500 million people will have received solar power empowerment by 2030 when we still will not have won the Solar and Green Energy Revolution. However, this demands a unified effort in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. Finally, the massive use of coal is a threat to the environment since there is massive emission of carbon into the atmosphere.

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