By Wallace Mawire
Zimbabwe’s renewable energy policy is expected to be ready by the end of 2017, according to Dr. Sosten Ziuku, Director for Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.
According to Dr Ziuku, the objective of on-going initiatives by the Ministry are to develop a renewable energy policy that will help establish market oriented measures and regulatory instruments for the renewable energy sector in Zimbabwe.
In view of these ongoing initiatives, the Energy Ministry is therefore putting in place other supporting instruments like the bio-fuels policy of 2015 to 2017 and the Rural Energy Master Plan (REMP) for 2015 to 2017 whose drafts have all been completed. The Rural Energy Masterplan is being undertaken by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), a department under the Ministry of Energy.
According to Ziuku, renewable energy in Zimbabwe is restricted to solar electricity, solar thermal, biomass, biogas, small-hydro, wind, and geothermal energy.
He added that the overall proposed targets for renewable energy are based on the demand-supply scenario, Intended Nationally Determined Contribution(INDC) targets submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), that is, 33% reduction in Green House Gas emissions by 2030, grid absorption capacity and the ability of utilities to pay for renewable energy electricity.
“The universal target is an additional 1600MW from renewable energy or 23% of energy supply whichever is higher by 2030,” he said.
The policy also intends to facilitate the setting up of a Renewable Energy Fund or Green Fund.
The fund will be used to promote, develop and extend financial assistance for setting up of projects relating to new and renewable sources of energy and off-grid sources. It also encourages renewable energy projects to tap funding from pension funds, insurance funds and bond markets through the Prescribed Asset status route, said Ziuku.
As part of incentives to promote renewable energy uptake, Government is continuously working on improving conditions and the ease of doing business in every sector including the energy space.
Some of the incentives for investing in Zimbabwe’s energy sector include the renewable energy policy which will create an environment conducive for investment in the renewables sector.
Other incentives being put in place include national project status for renewable energy projects, corporate tax holiday for such projects, viability gap funding for off-grid community rural areas, reduced licensing fees and requirements for developers of renewable energy projects and prescribed asset status for renewable energy projects being proposed.