Alternative energy: Zimbabwe needs $20m for research, development

biofuels30 October 2013, Harare – Zimbabwe requires at least US$20 million a year to fund research and development for clean and alternative energy sources, an energy expert has said.

Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority chief executive Engineer Gloria Magombo told New Ziana that Zimbabwe was lagging behind in research on new methods and trends emerging in the energy sector owing to lack of funding.

Eng Magombo said most research institutions had scaled down on capacity owing to funding constraints.

“I think the funding which we are looking at on an annual basis can go beyond US$20 million to do that research effectively but what we received specifically just for renewable energy and energy efficiency as projects was about US$3 million, of which we could only fund about US$1,3 million worth of projects,” she said.

“The research institutions at the moment do not have sufficient funding to carry out all the research in energy which they would want to do; even that estimate I have given of US$20 million is because they have scaled down on what they can do because it is important for us to say even if there is so much technology that has been developed those technologies still have to be tested for our own conditions.”

She said Zimbabwe could benefit from research in alternative energy including solar and biogas so that the energy deficit the country was facing could be bridged.

“Our research institutions need to be capacitated so that they are able to do the research and even the issue of how much they can do in terms of either assembly or manufacturing of some of these fresh technologies will depend on how much money they can access.

“I believe it will also contribute towards employment creation because from research once those things are proven they have to be rolled out as projects so it just does not stop at research,” she said.

– New Ziana

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