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UNDP Energy Offer Forum to improve supply in Zim

By Faith Chimutsa

Investors in renewable energy converged at the 2-day United Nations Development Program Energy Offer Investment Forum showcasing their project plans in the capital on Thursday.

UNDP in conjunction with Ministry of Energy and Power Development with support from various stakeholders held the forum to enlighten the investors on the Master Class where grants will be offered to renewable energy investments.

Speaking at the Energy Offer Investment Forum, Minister Energy and Power Development, Hon Zhemu Soda said renewable energy has been identified globally as a low hanging fruit in realizing the goal of increasing electrification of rural communities.

” In Zimbabwe, the crucial role being played by renewable energy especially mini-grid systems will see rapid deployment of clean sustainable energy in rural communities”, he said.

“Ministry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) participated and launched project titled “The Energy Offer” which is funded to the tune of USD1.5 million dollars to be used in the energy sector in April 2022. Energy Offer’s target initial investment pilot model of up to 50% subsidy for Renewable Energy projects capital costs as Viability Gap Funding is commendable”, he explained.

Through the Rural Electrification Fund (REF), government of Zimbabwe is looking for partners who can fund or facilitate funding for rural based renewable energy mini-grids and other renewable energy based technologies like solar water pumping and irrigation for communities.

Access to low cost funding for developing renewable energy projects is key to rapid deployment of affordable power to our consumers. The involvement of key development partners is therefore key in attracting low cost funding for renewable energy investors. This initiative by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is a very noble one aimed at kick starting renewable energy projects that address the poor energy access levels in rural areas.

This project compliments Government efforts of creating a dedicated Green Energy Fund which among other things, seeks to provide Viability Gap Funding for renewable energy projects.

The “Energy Offer” proposed to electrify more than 500 rural households with renewable energy in the next 12 months which is very welcome. The program will target the youth and women so that no one and no place is left behind.

Speaking at the same occasion, the UNDP Resident Representative, Verity Nyangah, said the forum is part of greater efforts to create an interactive platform for stakeholders involved in the energy sector and noted that the biggest challenge of our time is to fight climate change.

The UNDP representative emphasised the need to ensure the transformation of the global energy system towards a low-carbon and net-zero emission pathway that is fast enough to achieve the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind.

“The need to transform energy systems has further been put into focus by current energy challenges that our country and region, in general, is facing which is putting significant pressure on our current energy generating systems. This, however, presents a fundamental chance for all of us to rethink energy towards cleaner, more secure, efficient, resilient, and inclusive systems,” she said.

Meanwhile, this is the time to put our heads together as developers, financiers, investors, development coperation and DFI, businesses and entrepreneurs, regulators, utilities and the government to find lasting solutions to the energy challenges.