Energy indaba a landmark event for Zim

President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaking at the International Renewable Energy Conference and Expo 2023

THE International Renewable Energy Conference and Expo 2023, held in Victoria Falls last week was a landmark event for the nation.

Hundreds of delegates, including government representatives, energy experts, and investors, descended upon the resort town to discuss the future of renewable energy and the possibilities it could offer.

Running under the theme of "Managing the Future — Clean Energy Possibilities,” the four-day conference was officially opened by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In his remarks, the President encouraged global investment in the energy sector, noting that his government had created an enabling environment for independent power producers to thrive.

He commended those taking advantage of opportunities in the energy and power sector by leveraging assets from insurance and pension funds, and also challenged other financial institutions to be more creative in their funding mechanisms and support investments in the energy sector.

The President also expressed alarm over the theft and vandalism of the country’s electrical infrastructure and urged academic institutions to find a solution to the problem.

He also challenged other financial institutions in the country to be more creative in their funding mechanisms and support investments in the energy sector.

Mnangagwa also stressed the importance of supporting sectors such as mining and agriculture, given their key role in the country’s economy. He urged players in the energy industry to take up the challenge and help drive the nation’s economic growth.

The President said the availability of electricity and electricity-based services in rural areas, particularly through the deployment of renewable energy-based technologies will result in increased production and productivity while averting rural-urban migration.

The use of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydro power, were discussed in depth, and how these could be implemented in a cost-effective and reliable manner.

Other topics discussed included the technologies in renewable energy, solar and hydrogen energy, financing and funding of energy projects, marketing energy transmissions, energy efficiency, transition into the future, the importance of energy storage and more.

The international indaba was a huge success and highlighted the potential of renewable energy to shape the future of Africa and the world.

With the right investments and initiatives, renewable energy could transform the energy landscape and bring about a cleaner, more sustainable future for the African continent and beyond, participants noted.

The delegates also agreed on a number of resolutions that would help shape the energy industry.

One of the most significant resolutions was that the power utility Zesa Holdings should strengthen the grid and protect renewable energy plants from load shedding. This would enable the renewable energy plants to supply enough power to the grid.

The delegates also urged the Energy ministry to develop and launch an energy efficiency policy and e-mobility framework before June 2023. Furthermore, it was suggested that feasibility studies should be conducted at the sites that had been identified in the Zambezi Basin.

The power utility was called upon to take advantage of the various rooftops and ground mounted systems installed by individuals, home owners, farmers and cooperates to mop-up additional capacity from prosumers and launch a campaign on reducing connection hurdles.

 The resolutions of the conference were met with enthusiasm as the delegates expressed their commitment to the energy sector and the importance of the resolutions. These resolutions are set to have a lasting impact on the energy industry, and are a testament to the power of collaboration and collective action.

The conference was organised by The Standard newspaper in collaboration with the Energy and Power Development ministry.

The Standard is under the AMH stable. AMH also publishes NewsDay, Zimbabwe Independent and Southern Eye and owns tele-radio digital platform Heart and Soul.

On the last day of the conference, a number of deals were struck between energy companies and investors, while the Ministry of Energy and Power Development announced several new initiatives that will help to further support the growth of clean energy technologies in the country.

An agreement worth US$300 million was signed during the conference by the French independent power producer HDF Energy to build Zimbabwe's first utility-scale green hydrogen power plant, known as Middle Sabi Middle SabiRenewstable, inside the Chipangayi Renewable Energy Technology Park (RETPark).

Participants said the international indaba was an important event in the nation’s journey towards a low-carbon and renewable energy future.

It was highly successful in showcasing the potential of the renewable energy sector and in inspiring investment and growth within it.

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