Supporting the electricity sector in Zimbabwe Does it save the countryside from darkness?  (Report) - Energy

The Zimbabwean electricity sector is looking for partners to finance the Rural Electricity Program, especially since the delivery rates of supplies in most rural and urban areas are low.

The Harare government acknowledged its inability to provide the necessary financing for electricity generation projects to meet the demand; This prompted it to take measures that may contribute to addressing the gap between supply and demand, such as imports and the separation of loads, despite the approval of a United Nations program to provide a grant to revive the sector with renewable projects.

Meanwhile, in southeastern Africa, Zimbabwe aims to achieve total access rates for all regions by 2030, by providing the necessary financing for new projects.

Electricity shortage in Zimbabwe

The rates of access to electricity supply in Zimbabwe are very low, especially in rural areas; Supplies cover only 20% of rural areas and 40% of urban areas.

Poor production and financing besiege the electricity sector in Zimbabwe
Poor production and financing besiege the electricity sector in Zimbabwe – Photo from Afrika News

The Minister of Energy and Electricity Development, Soda Zemo, confirmed that the total rates of electricity access in Zimbabwe are 44%, expressing his government’s dissatisfaction with these rates, especially in rural areas.

He explained that despite the expansion of projects to supply small ports with solar energy systems; Statistics revealed that the rates of electricity access in rural areas amounted to only 20%.

Zimo acknowledged his government’s inability to fund electricity projects in Zimbabwe, especially major projects that can meet demand, noting that the government is facing a challenge in financing any new projects that allow achieving Harare’s goals to provide supplies to all regions by 2030.

Zimbabwe produces 1 GW and 200 MW per day, an average of nearly half the capacity specified to meet demand of 2 GW and 200 MW.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Corporation attributed the shortfall in access and demand rates to obstacles in generating electricity from the 40-year-old Hwang Thermal Power Plant.

Support measures .. Do they succeed?

Soda Zemo, Minister of Energy and Electricity Development of Zimbabwe
Soda Zemo, Minister of Energy and Electricity Development of Zimbabwe – Photo courtesy of Green Building Africa

The Minister of Energy and Electricity Development, Soda Zemo, explained that the electricity infrastructure requires a rescue plan, along with the expansion of generation facilities and support for transportation related infrastructure, adding that the electricity sector in Zimbabwe is suffering losses.

He announced that the ministry had received $1.5 million in support through the United Nations Development Program, especially after the government resorted to importing electricity to meet local demand and fill the supply gap.

He said that the government had to intensively separate the loads in the electricity facilities, in addition to the expensive imports from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the government uses those imports – in addition to its limited production – to meet the demand.

He revealed that his government is looking for partners to finance the program for accessing electricity to rural areas, which are the most affected by the lack of supplies, as quoted by Newsday Zimbabwe.

Clean Energy Scholarship

The representative of the United Nations Development Program, Mia Sebo, suggested that the electricity sector in Zimbabwe would receive the full grant before the end of this year, in an attempt to prepare the sector for future investments.

She added that the grant aims to accelerate access to sustainable and clean energy at an appropriate cost, through projects that will attract more funding to support the electricity sector in Zimbabwe.

In a tweet she wrote on Twitter, she explained that the grant comes within the framework of expanding the share of renewable energy sources in the electricity mix, through new and different financing methods.

in contrast; An analysis by South African writer, Elaine Fongsai Chibangu, published in The Conversation Africa in November last year, underestimated the potential for electricity generation from renewable sources to address Zimbabwe’s electricity poverty.

Tchibango stressed at the time that focusing on energy efficiency, in addition to solving the problems of access to all regions, is the best way to overcome the current crisis.

The specter of electricity shortages in Zimbabwe haunted mining companies last year; This forced Caledonia Mining, a leading gold prospector, to adjust its spending budget for the current 2022 Plunkett mine, increasing it by 78%.

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