By Wallace Mawire
The private sector in Zimbabwe and other potential project funders have been called upon to support renewable energy projects which include ongoing biogas and solar projects some of which are failing to take off or complete due to funding constraints.
Dr. Sosten Ziuku, the Director of Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development said that there are three biogas programmes currently underway in the country.
Ziuku said that the Institutional Biogas programme which involves construction of biogas digesters at schools, hospitals and colleges to reduce their dependence on electricity and firewood for cooking is being hampered by limited funding.
He said 33 biodigesters were constructed by the end of 2015 adding that the Municipal Biogas Digester Programme has seen the completion of the Kotwa biodigester with a capacity of 350 m3. In Mbare an 800m3 biodigester is under construction.
The Ministry is encouraging municipalities to utilize the gas from sewage treatment plants. The Domestic Biogas Digester programme targets to build about 8 000 biogas digesters nationwide over a five year period from 2013 to 2018.
According to Ziuku , the Government of Zimbabwe also launched the National Solar Water Heating programme in September, 2015.The objective is to replace existing electrical geysers with solar water heaters and install solar geysers on all new buildings.
This is expected to assist in saving 300MW under the ZIMASSET targets although Government is still looking at financial models for implementing the programme.
The private sector is also being invited to come up with financing mechanisms and to mobilize resources for the project. The project has already been granted cabinet approval.