Connecting countries to climate technology solutions
English Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French Russian Spanish Yoruba


Official Name:
Republic of Zimbabwe

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Ms. Munashe E.S. Mukonoweshuro
Climate Change Scientist, Climate Change Management Department
+263 4 701681/3, +263 771 470 335

Energy profile

Zimbabwe (2012)

Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

Access to electricity is estimated nationally at nearly 40%, with urban access standing at nearly 80%, but access to electricity in the rural areas of the country is much lower, at about 19%, due to prohibitive costs of extending national electricity grids.

Renewable energy potential

Solar energyAverage solar insolation stands at 5.7 kWh/ m2/day. The potential for renewable energy, especially from solar PV and solar water heaters, is enormous but thus far hasn’t been sufficiently exploited. Solar PV has a technical potential of over 300 MW, whilst only 1% of the technical potential for water heaters is being exploited. Currently installed solar power capacity is mainly situated in rural areas, as service centres such as schools and hospitals, although the private, individual home market is growing in the country. Solar-powered “base stations” for charging electrical appliances have also been installed, particularly through the national telecommunications company, NetOne. Wind energyAverage wind speeds have been estimated at 3.5 m/s. The NGO ZERO, a regional environmental initiative, has conducted feasibility studies and financed production of a number of 1 and 4 kW wind turbines for off-grid purposes, as well as providing power to municipal buildings such as clinics. Areas around Bulawayo and some pockets in the Eastern Highlands, have potential for power generation application, since the most prevalent wind speeds in these regions range from 4 to 6 m/s. These wind speed ranges have a high frequency and time distributions, particularly suited to power generation. Biomass energyCo-generation potential (bagasse), is estimated at 633 GWh. Apart from sugarcane, there is also potential for wood waste power generation. The timber industry in Zimbabwe is almost entirely based on plantation timber, which generates over 70,000 tons of biomass waste annually. Long-term projections expect this figure to double by 2015. While at the largest mills a small fraction (~10%) of the wood waste generated, is currently consumed in process steam boilers for lumber drying kilns, the vast majority is burned in the open air or dumped. An estimated 4 MW of power could be generated from waste produced from the largest mills. According to studies carried out by African Energy Policy Research Network (AFREPREN), more than 200 biogas plants have been installed around Zimbabwe, mainly by the Department of Energy. The vast livestock population offers great potential for using biogas from animal waste for electricity generation. In the south of the country there are two sugarcane-crushing mills that use more than 1.3 million tonnes of bagasse to generate electricity used by the sugar factories. In terms of biofuels, the country has a target of substituting 10% of the nation’s fuel requirements by 2015 through biofuels. This target is to be met by expanding sugar cane growth for ethanol production, expanding Jatropha growth (with 122,000 hectares to be planted), and the construction of a 500 million litre/annum ethanol production plant, currently implemented under a public-private partnership. In addition, a 35 million litre/annum biodiesel production facility is already in place in the country. Geothermal energy50 MW of geothermal potential was identified in 1985, but little has been done since to further catalogue the resource. It is reasonable to assume from the country's geographic location near to the geologically-active Rift Valley region of Africa that geothermal power is an option. HydropowerThe gross theoretical hydropower potential is 18500 GWh/year, and the technically feasible potential is 17500 GWh/year. About 19% of the technically feasible potential has been exploited. Rusitu Hydro, a mini hydro plant (750kW) constructed and operated by private entrepreneurs is selling power to ZESA. A further 5 MW of small-hydro capacity additions have been announced by the government. Around eight small-hydro plants have currently been installed in the country, ranging from 3 kW to over 700 kW. Total small-hydro potential across the country is estimated at 120 MW, with Gairezi in Nyange district being particularly promising, with an estimated 30 MW of potential capacity.

Energy framework

A draft policy energy framework was created in 2008. The objectives of the Energy Policy are:to ensure accelerated economic developmentto facilitate rural developmentto promote small-medium scale enterprisesto ensure environmentally friendly energy development, andto ensure efficient utilisation of energy resources. The Electricity Act of 2002 led to the unbundling of ZESA into separate generation, transmission, distribution and supply units, and provided mechanisms for the introduction of IPPs into the power sector. Cost-reflective tariffs for the electricity sector were conceptualised in 2004, and are currently beginning to be implemented. The Ministry of Energy and Power Development is still developing a Renewable Energy Policy. This is being addressed through a number of initiatives.  The Electricity Regulatory Bill, currently awaiting Presidential signature, specifically provides for “the identification and promotion of the employment and development of sources of renewable energy”. In addition, under the Rural Electrification Fund Act, the country’s Rural Electrification Authority has the responsibility to deploy sustainable energy solutions where appropriate.

Static Source: