Victoria Falls Office
Delays by some investors in implementing renewable or low-carbon energy projects are potentially hampering Zimbabwe’s progress despite the government granting investors special permits, the president said.
He told delegates to the 3rd International Renewable Energy Conference and Expo in Victoria Falls yesterday that Zimbabwe has vast investment opportunities in the clean energy sector which have yet to be fully tapped.
These include large deposits of coal bed methane, which have yet to be commercially exploited due to a lack of adequate quantification and processing capacity, although one company is moving ahead and plans to start test drilling in 2024.
Coalbed methane is still a fossil carbon fuel, but when used in a power plant, it generates electricity with less than half the carbon dioxide emissions of a similar coal-fired plant.
If there were assured supplies, the next power plant could be gas-fired rather than coal-fired.
In Zimbabwe, coal bed methane reserves are mainly found in the Lupane, Gwayi and Hwange regions and natural gas, which is largely methane after other gases have been separated, is explored in Muzarabani,
Harnessing the opportunities of coal bed methane, solar, wind, biogas and hydropower systems is therefore critical for Zimbabwe as it diversifies its energy mix in the context of moderate domestic generation capacity and the need improve the regional electricity supply.
However, the President expressed dismay at the slow pace of implementation of such critical projects.
“Investment opportunities also exist through the exploitation of our vast reserves of coalbed methane and natural gas, found particularly here in Matabeleland North province as well as in the central province of Mashonaland,” the President said. Mnangagwa.
“I am disappointed that there is a long list of subsidized companies but that we cannot find them on the ground. In this regard, I urge those benefiting from special grants to accelerate the quantification and extraction of coal bed methane for clean energy production.
“It is also discouraging that a number of independent power producers with renewable energy licenses are taking too long to get established. The necessary modalities must be improved to ensure the rapid implementation of authorized energy projects. Otherwise, we will be forced to give regulations that require implementation deadlines.
In line with global energy infrastructure trends, President Mnangagwa said his government is keen to adopt new energy systems in line with the country’s climate change adaptation commitments.
He commended the commitment of the African Development Bank and the World Bank, in particular, to support the country in the implementation of the renewable energy policy.
“Easy and equal access to the Green Energy Fund, to accelerate the adoption and urgent implementation of renewable energy projects remains critical,” President Mnangagwa said.
“At the regional level, the launch of the Green Hydrogen Atlas for Southern Africa is a notable development, particularly with regard to the use of green hydrogen in the manufacture of fertilizers, the transport sector and power generation in Africa. general.”
The president called on potential partners to invest in the local production of renewable energy solutions and products such as solar water heaters, solar panels and energy storage equipment like lithium batteries.
He also challenged the country’s universities to play the game to unlock the energy transition by developing new innovative energy supply technologies, through their innovation hubs and industrial parks.
“I expect that after this conference more projects will be implemented, so that Zimbabwe will become a net energy exporter in the region,” President Mnangagwa said.
“Working together, we will achieve energy security, which is essential for economic stability and growth.”
The President urged the media to play their role in disseminating information on relevant issues that guide the national development agenda and promote a better quality of life for all.
“This must include information relating to climate change and sustainable renewable energy production and use, towards a ‘Net Zero Country’ and indeed a ‘Net Zero Africa’,” he said.