Renewable energy, bio-fuels policies to be launched next week

By ZBC Reporter
GOVERNMENT is set to launch Bio-fuels and National Renewable Energy policies next week in a bid to finding lasting solutions to the country’s power challenges and meet the 2000MW renewable energy generation by 203O, this was revealed by the minister of Energy and Power Development Fortune Chasi in Victoria falls at a Renewable Energy Conference and Expo which running under the theme “The future of energy is renewable resources”
“We have produced a Bio-fuels Policy in Zimbabwe which is set to be launched together with our National Renewable Energy Policy on the 19th of March,” he said
The Bio-fuels Policy is among other things meant to reduce dependence on importation of petroleum products, stabilise fuel products and enhance energy security.
It will also guide the biofuels sector during the period 2020 to 2030 in promoting the implementation of viable biofuels projects in the country. Its specific focus will be on ethanol production from sugar cane and biodiesel from jatropha, while exploring the possibility of other feedstocks, such as cassava and sweet sorghum for biodiesel production.
The policy seeks, inter alia, to improve the long-term growth, viability and sustainability of the biofuels sector; safeguard biofuel product quality and standards; improve productivity and economic viability of biofuel feedstock production; implement development programmes that balance biofuel investments with biodiversity-ecosystem maintenance and implementing production models that increase community benefits from biofuel investments and fostering institutional cooperation.
Some of the benefits to be derived from the implementation of the National Biofuels Policy are as follows: reduction of the country’s dependence on imported petroleum products; stabilisation of fuel prices; enhancement of energy security; promotion of rural development and investment; poverty reduction and employment creation
Chasi said renewables play a leading role in solving the country’s power supply challenges adding that Zimbabwe’s energy crisis cannot be solved by traditional solutions but with new ideas.
“It is our goal to continue developing home-grown solutions to energy challenges. We need to De-carbonise, Dectralise and Digitise the energy sector across the continent. Of great interest for us all is the continued downward trend in the cost of renewable energy technologies,” he said.
He also said the huge power demand is a problem which is being experienced across the African continent.
“Electricity demand in Africa today is 700 megawatt-hours, with North African economies and South Africa accounting for over 70% of the total. Renewables play a leading role in meeting the demand,” said Minister Chasi.
The Ministry of Energy and Power Development is in the process of developing a Renewable Energy Competitive bidding process with the help of the African Development Bank.
He pointed out that his Ministry also has ambitious targets to put in place solar thermal heating installations through Southern Africa Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (Solstram) programme.
To encourage wider use of solar power the government has introduced net metering and plans are being made to accelerate the uptake of net-metering.
The Renewable Energy Conference and Expo has attracted governments officials, financiers, independent power producers and institutional investors, among others.