Zimbabwe’s energy ministry plans to intensify citizen awareness on energy management for a virtual power station

By Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Energy and Power Development is planning to conduct training and awareness activities for citizens on energy management in a bid to double the improvement in energy efficiency by 2030 as part of government’s commitment and obligations on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal (SGD 7).

  Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Energy and Power Development at a national multi-stakeholder inception meeting on energy efficiency policy development, Deputy minister in the same ministry, M.Mudyiwa said that the exercise is part of an overall national energy policy initiative that seeks to create an enabling environment for making clean and affordable energy accessible to all citizens in an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030.

 It is also reported that in line with the country’s long term vision of achieving universal energy access to all by 2030, the process of developing a national energy efficiency policy has started with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

  In Zimbabwe, it is reported that the power demand is approximately 1470MW.The demand is met through local power generation and imports from neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Mozambique.

 It is added that even though the country has a total installed generation capacity of around 2300MW, the achievable capacity is about 1100MW and is complemented by imports which range from 150MW to 400MW.

 “It is only on dire situations that we resort to load shedding to manage the electricity supply demand mismatch. Infact, this is one of the reasons why energy efficiency is critical that we use our resources prudently,” the Deputy Minister said.

  According to the Deputy Minister, it is reported that previous studies on the status of energy  efficiency  in the country by various consultants have shown that the country uses old equipment in the residential sector, in industry as well as the mining sector resulting in low energy efficiency levels. The studies have also shown that energy efficiency awareness by local citizens was lacking.

   This is reported to lead to unnecessary energy losses. The energy ministry has emphasized the need for demand side management and energy efficiency measures to be put in place in order to save energy, reducing imports and saving foreign currency.

 It is also reported that inefficient use of energy is still prevalent in many households and institutions and the markets are flooded with inefficient products. It is also added that the country’s energy intensity is still high as compared to international and regional benchmarks.

 The ministry has also said that it is cheaper to create a virtual power station through energy efficiency initiatives than building a new power plant.

 In 2017 and 2018, the ministry of energy through the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) trained more than 100 engineers and technicians from industry on energy management and energy auditing. Some of the trained personnel are now certified energy managers.

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