Zimbabwe: Zesa turns to alternative energy sources

ZIMBABWE is evaluating immediate ways to find alternative energy sources following global calls to move away from coal-fired power plants under the “No New Coal” program.

This was revealed by the executive chairman of Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) Holdings, Dr Sydney Gata, during a recent Zimbabwe Power Company tour of Hwange.

The conversation follows a subtle challenge of the South African authorities’ ban on the use of coal.

South Africa’s Mining and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe reportedly said: “Rich countries should not force South Africa to ban new coal-fired power plant projects and impose other conditions as a condition. funding to help reduce its environmental footprint.

Mr Mantashe believes that South Africa must be given enough time to systematically move away from coal-fired power generation and not rush to switch to renewable energy sources.

A significant portion of global pollution comes from a few countries, for example, the United States is responsible for almost 14% of all global emissions.

It is quite unfortunate that Zimbabwe has found itself at the mercy of new global thermal energy regulations, thus quickly falling victim to the abandonment of coal.

According to Climate Trade, Zimbabwe is ranked number 100 on the list of carbon emissions in the world, contributing 0.03% of the global share, while 10 countries produced the most emissions, measured in millions of tonnes of dioxide. of carbon in 2019.

Speaking to the media, Dr Gata lamented the potential loss of the abundant resource to the new global code of practice that is leading the world towards cutting carbon emissions by industries, further citing that the “no new agenda for coal ”will wipe out the global resource market.

Zimbabwe finds itself in a difficult situation, as one of its founders (China) has since responded to the call for “no new coal programs” thus ending its funding programs, particularly in favor of resource-rich southern Africa.

“On the coal issue, it’s really a sad story for southern Africa, especially for countries rich in this mineral resource, but for the moment, the door is closed to coal-fired power plants.

“No one is going to fund them, in fact we would benefit a lot if the funding was still available. In Europe and also in America but especially in China where they dismantled dozens of these plants. We’re out of a market, “said Dr Gata.

Dr Gata was quick, however, to point out some of the alternatives his company had up its sleeve to make up for the looming power shortage given that coal-fired power plants were at the heart of Zimbabwe’s energy mix.

“The door has closed on coal, so we need to look for alternative technologies and we are investigating with partners in South Korea to explore plasma gasification of municipal waste, which has marginal environmental consequences.

“This (is) a project that we are already in – a phase of development study in Harare and we will probably extend it to Bulawayo because this facility will be located in large cities that discharge a lot of municipal waste which will be the fuel. to the technology I’m talking about, ”said Dr. Gata.

Plasma gasification is an emerging technology that can process landfill waste to extract recyclables and convert carbon-based materials into fuels.

Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe are some of the countries that have implemented plans for coal-fired power plants despite the global “no new coal” program.

These five African countries are part of a group of 21 countries that have more than one new coal-fired power plant in the planning stage.

The five African countries all have projects seeking funding from China and now face an uncertain future following calls to move away from coal.

Zimbabwe has access to vast and diverse potential energy resources, including about 12 billion metric tonnes of coal, a potential hydropower concentrated along the Zambezi River.

However, massive efforts are being made to harness the potential of solar energy.

According to Climate Trade, each year more than 36,000 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are released into the earth’s atmosphere, it is the main source of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Most of these gases come from the use of fossil fuels, the production of energy through non-renewable channels and polluting human activities.

In the ranking below are the 10 countries that produce the most emissions, measured in millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019.

China, with more than 10,065 million tonnes of CO2 emitted.

United States, with 5,416 million tonnes

India, with 2,654 million tonnes

Russia, with 1,711 million tonnes

Japan, 1,162 million tonnes

Germany, 759 million tonnes

Iran, 720 million tonnes

South Korea, 659 million tonnes

Saudi Arabia, 621 million tonnes

Indonesia, 615 million tonnes

Rosemary C. Kearney