Zimbabwe’s reliance on coal described as tragic and no longer sustainable
September 8, 2018
…..Its time for country to tap on the abundant sunshine; many
By Wallace Mawire
Various stakeholders in the sustainable development sector in
Zimbabwe have highlighted that its now time Zimbabwe should begin to
seriously consider using other renewable forms of energy like the
abundant solar energy, instead of continued use of dirty fossil fuels
like coal and diesel.
The calls for the transition to renewable energy forms like solar,
wind and biogas are coming amid reports that Zimbabwe under the Hwange
Colliery company has planned the building of 15 new coal plants, of
which six are reported to be in the pre-permit stage. This is also
happening at a time the country is grappling with the effects of
climate change and the use of coal fired plants reportedly
exacerbates carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Tendayi Marowa, Vice Chairman of the Business Council on Sustainable
Development Zimbabwe (BCSDZ) technical committee on energy and climate
change said that the biggest emitter in the country was Hwange power
Marowa said the deforestation rate was very high and
afforestation was very low. Trees are very essential to remove carbon
dioxide from the atmosphere. Carbon emissions contribute to climate
He emphasised the need for Zimbabwe to now focus on available and
cheap forms of renewable energies like solar power which are readily
available and to now start minimising use of coal fired thermal
“We have 16 mega megajoules daily of solar power in Zimbabwe,
which is three times the global average which offers us the
opportunity to minimise our energy poverty in the country. This also
offers an opportunity for our industries to consider using solar and
not put too much reliance on the national grid. The energy mix should
now consider use of solar enegry,” Marowa said.
Isaiah Nyakusendwa, Chairperson on the Renewable Energy Association
of Zimbabwe (REAZ) also highlighted that Zimbabwe had 16 to 20
megajoules per square metre per day of solar and there was a lot of
unexploited solar energy in the country.
He gave the example of a solar plant at Mutoko which he said was now
feeding into the national grid. He also added that the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces (ZDF) was working on completing a 100MW solar project
to boost power supply in the country.
Tawanda Muzamwese, Director of the Business Council on Sustainable
Development Zimbabwe said that solar technologies were now being
encouraged at companies in Zimbabwe to supplement energy. He said that
it was time to unleash solar power potential.
Ronan Bescond, Managing Director of Total Zimbabwe (PVT) LTD said
that his company had recently completed a solar power plant project in
Burkina Faso at a gold milling plant. He also said that the company
was planning on bringing the same initiatives to Zimbabwe. According
to Bescond, Total Zimbabwe has plans to solarise at least 75 of its
fuel stations in the country.
Dr Joseph Kuhudzai, Group Sales Manager for Distributed Power Africa
(DPA) company, a member of the Econet Group said that his company
which is a subsidiary of the Econet mobile communications company
was working on installing solar-powered generators to reduce the use
of diesel powered generators which increase more carbon emissions into
the atmosphere. Kuhudzai said that it was no longer sustainable to add
more coal plants at Hwange power station. He said that there was now
need to drive solar and other forms of renewable energy to meet energy
demands in Africa at large.
He added that renewable energy projects were quicker to role out and
cheaper. His company had installed a 100KW plant at Econet in Msasa,
Harare which was powering commercial ovens at the company kitchen.
“There is now need to cut the dirty production from coal at Hwange
and accelerate the adoption of solar energy,” Dr Kuhudzai said.
His company was also planning to install a 100KW solar plant at
Hwange. He added that the national power grid in Zimbabwe was now
very old with very low voltages and solar systems would balance the
Coal increases greenhouse gas emissions and that is the reason why
more proponents are calling for the quicker and cheaper way of tapping
on the abundant sunshine in the country. In Zimbabwe, the private
sector and other energy associations are beginning to appreciate the
need to shift to other forms of renewable energy. However, there seems
to be a slow pace from government’s side in stopping new fossil fuel
projects. There is now hope form the proposed Renewable Energy
policy on the stable which is giving new hope that there could be
regulatory framework to intensify the use of reliable and clean forms
of energy unlike coal.
Dr Christopher Mabezah, a Climate Expert in Zimbabwe said it was
rather tragic that Zimbabwe was still relying on coal when it has
abundant solar energy. He said that it was now necessary and possible
to advance the rural electrification project using solar energy. He
said it was also very expensive to use thermal power. In Zimbabwe he
also said that Hwange and Munyati power stations were the biggest
emitters. However, he lamented the fact that he was not seeing the
authorities in Zimbabwe discarding the use of coal any time soon and
described it as tragic especially with the abundance of solar energy
at the country’s disposal.
Mabezah also said that in neighbouring South Africa, the coal-fired
Eskom utility was the worst polluter.
South Africa has abundant coal reserves. South Africa’s
infrastructure to generate electricity from coal is well established.
Nkemnji Global Tech
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