Energy experts have said overlapping jurisdictions and inconsistencies in government policy is discouraging investment in renewable energy.
Practical Action head of energy, Godfrey Sibanda made these remarks on the sidelines of a recent media training workshop on renewable energy jointly organized by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and HIVOS.
Sibanda said there were several policies governing renewable energy projects across line ministries presenting overlapping jurisdictions that deter investors from expensive renewable energy ventures.
“Policy inconsistencies are having a negative impact on investment into the renewable sector.
“There are a lot of companies that want to invest in Zimbabwe but there are a lot of bottle necks.
“We don’t have a conducive environment for doing business; this dissuades potential investors into the renewable energy sector. There are huge upfront costs in the sector and investors want a predictable environment to invest in,” he said.
He said the National Energy Policy also lacks specific renewable energy clauses to stimulate growth in the sector and provide incentives for investment.
Sibanda said access to energy is a key enabler to development, and renewable energy provided a better alternative for rural and urban communities in developing nations.
“For communities that do not have energy access, which is the actual use of energy, in Zimbabwe the problem is skewed to rural communities that are out of the national power grid.
“Yet access to energy is a key enabler to development and renewable energy provides Rural District Councils a critical component needed to stimulate development.
“Renewable energy therefore provide for sustainable livelihoods, income generation, growth of local enterprise and new earning opportunities, which all translates to development,” he said.
He added, “Renewable energy is sustainable and environmentally friendly as it is generated from hydro, solar, wind and geothermal power.”
The United Nations sustainable development goals (SGD) 7- access to energy for all, compels nations provide energy for all by 2030 by raising $3 billion under pinned by the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative.
ZERO energy project manager Wellington Madumira says government should join the SE4All initiative as civic society was limited at that level.
He said renewable energy projects initiated by CSOs were just a model to demonstrate the abundant opportunities for development that should be expanded by government.
“The work that we do does not mean as CSOs we a can replace government, at local level our projects are merely models that governments can emulate to provide clean energy to its populace.
“At the international stage Zimbabwe must join the Sustainable Energy for All initiative because as civic society we cannot represent government at the level,” he said.
A new report by the World Bank, Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy 2016 (RISE), shows that Zimbabwe is lagging behind. RISE is a set of indicators to help compare national policy and regulatory frameworks for sustainable energy. It assesses countries’ policy and regulatory support for each of the three pillars of sustainable energy—access to modern energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy
RISE classifies countries into a green zone of strong performers in the top third, a yellow zone of middling performers, and a red zone of weaker performers in the bottom third, lack of incentives and regulatory support for renewable energy, places Zimbabwe in the red with a score of 25 from a possible 100.