Forging Partnerships for Renewable Energy in Zimbabwe

Nov 10, 2014

An official from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development takes guests on a tour of the Sandringham School biogas digester before it is officially commissioned

The Minister of Energy and Power Development Hon. Senator Dzikamai Mavhaire has hailed the joint effort involving his ministry, the Ministry of Environment and Climate, UNDP and the Rural Electrification Fund, describing it as “the epitome of partnership that is necessary if progress is to be made in the provision of energy to rural communities countrywide”.

Unveiling the Sandringham Biogas Project School in Chegutu District, located in Mashonaland West Province the minister said that provision of biogas energy to rural public institutions will bring numerous benefits to the institutions and the surrounding communities. The event was held on 10 November, 2014.

“It is a low cost clean energy option. Domestic uses of biogas include lighting, cooking and heating. On a large scale biogas technology can be used for electricity generation. Other benefits of the technology include reduction of greenhouse emissions, waste management and production of rich organic fertilizer for agricultural purposes” said the minister in a speech read on his behalf by the Permanent Secretary Mr. Patison Mbiriri.

“This development will free your school from the tyranny of the national power grid” the Norton Member of Parliament, who is also deputy foreign minister, Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa, said in jest.

The initiative was supported by UNDP, through a US $ 20,000 contribution aimed at promoting renewable energy in Zimbabwe.

“UNDP is fully behind the Ministry of Energy’s focus on the biogas programme for institutions such as schools, clinics, hospitals and prisons as part of implementation of the ZimAsset and the National Energy Policy” remarked UNDP Assistant Resident Representative, Dr Alex Zinanga.

Like other countries in the SADC region, Zimbabwe’s energy sector is confronted with the challenges of inadequate generation capacity and limited funding. This is manifested in frequent power outages or “load shedding”.

However, through the Rural Electrification Fund that was established via an Act of Parliament in 2002, the government is working with development partners to expand the national power grid, promote energy conservation and develop decentralized energy systems based on renewable energy sources especially in the rural areas.

Sandringham is among of 13 public institutions that have benefited from the biogas digesters countrywide as part of a renewed push for solar and biogas programmes by the Rural Electrification Fund. Currently, 395 mini grid solar systems have been installed at remote rural secondary schools, health centres and homesteads of chiefs. Furthermore, 392 mobile solar units were distributed to rural public institutions.

In addition, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, SNV and HIVOS are implementing a five-year domestic biogas digester programme. The 2013-2018 programme targets construction of 8000 digesters in farms and homesteads countrywide.Click / tap here to start editing

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