Zimbabwe Turns To The Sun For Power

National Economy

The land-locked African country of the Republic of Zimbabwe  is bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique. The population of Zimbabwe is approximately 15.47 million people[1].

In 2022, Zimbabwe’s economy was ranked 110th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[2]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export[3] of gold, nickel mattes, raw tobacco, ferroalloys, and diamonds.

Environmental Policies

In 2016, Zimbabwe signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4], committing to a 33% reduction in per capita emissions in 2030, compared to business as usual.

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2020, only 52.75 % of the people in Zimbabwe had access to electricity[5]. In 2021, the state power company, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, (ZESA) used renewable energy (55.0%), coal (44.5%), and oil (0.5%) to generate electricity in the country[6]. Hydropower is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Zimbabwe.

Recent renewable energy projects in Zimbabwe include:

  • 25 MW Solar Project – In December 2022, U.S. engineering company, Power Ventures commissioned the Chidobe-Mizpah solar project in the Hwange District in the western region of the country.
  • 25 MW Solar Project – In December 2021, U.S. renewable energy company, Plum Solar commissioned the Wartrail solar project at a site in the Bulilimamangwe District in the southwestern region of the country.
  • 20 MW Solar Project – In December 2022, Zimbabwe company, Harava Solar Group commissioned the Harava solar project at a site in the Seke District, approximately 25 miles southwest of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – In December 2021, Power Ventures commissioned the Guruve solar project at a site in the in the Guruve District in the northern region of the country.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – In July 2021, U.S. renewable energy company, Rich Solar commissioned the Sunset Technologies Solar Park at a site near the town of Gwanda in the southwest region of the country.

Conclusions

Zimbabwe imports all the nation’s refined petroleum for power generation and transportation. In 2021, the nation spent[7] U.S. $1.08 Billion just for imported refined petroleum.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to place economic sanctions on Russian imports and exports. As a result, the crude oil and natural gas prices increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

Zimbabwe has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including solar, hydropower, biomass, wind, and geothermal. These renewable energy resources could easily replace the coal and diesel power generators, which provide 45.0% of Zimbabwe’s electricity.

Over the past decade, the government of Zimbabwe has failed to maintain the country’s power grid. As a result, the nation is experiencing an increase in the frequency and duration of power outages, which is crippling Zimbabwe’s economy. Zimbabwe is now turning to the sun for reliable, low-cost electricity.

 Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jack kerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy issues and topics.

 

[1] Zimbabwe Population (2023) –  April 29, 2023, www.worldometers.info

[2] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2022 – Worldometer

[3] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Zimbabwe

[4] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] World Bank, Access To Electricity (% Population) – Zimbabwe

[6] Our World In Data, Zimbabwe: Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

[7] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Zimbabwe Imports

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