Energy

New Biofuel Policy on cards

STAFF WRITER

Zimbabwe will today launch a new Biofuel Policy as government turns to green fuels to offset the perennial energy deficit that has hamstrung both industrial and domestic consumers, Energy minister Chasi has said.

Experts say the southern African country has enormous potential in clean energy but poor regulatory framework and an unfavourable investment climate often unnerves investors in the energy sector.

Minister Chasi told delegates attending the International Renewable Energy Conference and Expo in Victoria Falls recently that a new policy which seeks to unlock latent potential in green energy is on the cards.

“We need to decarbonise, decentralise and digitise the energy sector across the continent,” Chasi said.

“To this end we have produced a Biofuels Policy of Zimbabwe which is set to be launched together with the National Renewable Energy Policy on the 19th of this month.

This policy among other things seeks to increase the production of ethanol and biodiesel from plant sources.’

“It is our goal to continue developing homegrown solutions to energy challenges in the country. We will continue as a country to ensure an enabling environment for new and established players to enter to enter into the biofuels sector as a way of increasing the national capacity of ethanol and biofuel production,” Chasi said.

The energy minister said Africa requires up to US$120 billion by 2040 to provide reliable electricity supply across the continent.

Limited access to electricity has resulted in massive deforestation in most poor parts of the continent.

“Mobilising this level of investment is a significant undertaking but it can be done if policy and regulatory measures are put in place to improve the financial and operating efficiency of utilities and to facilitate a more effective use of public funds to catalyse private capital,” Chasi said.

“Of great interest for us all is the continued downward trend in the cost of renewable energy technologies.

It becomes attractive for us as a country to find ways to promote derisk renewable energy projects for the realisation of internal power generation capacity and reduction in poverty for our people.”

Policy makers across the globe are now turning to renewable energy to mitigate the effects of climate change.

According to the Renewables 2019 Global Status Report shows solar and wind have become the mainstream options for the power sector globally.

The report shows that 181 Giga Watt (GW) of power was added globally in 2018 from renewable energies with 55% of this being solar photovoltaic, followed by wind power (28%) and hydropower (11%) and others.

The report further shows that the transport sector was not left out in these developments with some being done to boost production of biofuels and electric vehicles.

Chasi said faster economic growth is accompanied by the full achievement of access to electricity and clean cooking energy in line with Sustainable Development Goal 7.

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