By Lungelo Ndhlovu
Zimbabwe has huge potential to harness wind energy which will go a long way towards increasing access to energy and sustainable development.
According to a study conducted the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), there is potential to generate 39 gigawatts in wind energy, 28 gigawatts of concentrated solar power and 56 gigawatts (photovoltaic solar power).
IRENA conducted a zoning exercise in 2015 to determine the cost effectiveness and potential of wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) in Eastern and Southern African countries, including Zimbabwe.
The exercise was conducted in terms of implementing the Africa Clean Energy Corridor to accelerate deployment and cross-border trade in renewable energy from Egypt to South Africa.
IRENA is an inter-governmental organisation that promotes the adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy including bio-energy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy, in pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.
Principal Energy Development Officer at the Ministry of Energy, Blessing Jonga, said the country has huge potential in wind power generation.
“There are investors who want to build wind farms in Zimbabwe. The country has a huge potential in wind power generation and we are hoping to do pilot projects to roll out the technology throughout the country,” said Jonga.
According to IRENA , while markets for non-hydro renewable power is not yet at a mature stage, especially in the Sub-Saharan region, there is a potential for growth in solar photovoltaic in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Kenya.
The Africa Investment Index 2016, a multi-dimensional barometer based on six clusters of factors, namely: growth factors, liquidity factors, risk factors, business environment factors, demographics and social capital factors, ranks Zimbabwe at 3 percent exchange rate risk, making the country suitable for investments.
This is so because the country uses a multi-currency system