CALLS for Zimbabwe and its regional peers to diversify the energy mix are growing in the face of biting climate change, whose effects have been erratic rains or too much rains in some areas, impacting on power generation.
Power generation at Kariba Hydro Station has been significantly impacted by low water levels while heavy rains early this year, flooded coal mines and the Hwange Thermal Power Station, resulting in power generation being affected. Most Sadc countries rely on water and coal for energy generation.
Thermal power generation no longer excites many investors while hydro power is affected by erratic rains.
Secretary for Energy and Power Development Dr Gloria Magombo told over 150 delegates to the 16th edition of the Regional Energy Regulators Association of Southern Africa (Rera) annual general meeting and conference in Victoria Falls on Thursday that it was time Sadc diversified its energy mix to ensure a steady supply of electricity.
"We witnessed the economic impact of climate change on one of the largest power supplies, Kariba Power Station, and we need to learn how to mitigate such calamities in future," said Dr Magombo in her closing remarks. "From the deliberations that took place during this week, it is clear that we cannot continue doing the same things and expect different results. Surely, increasing and diversifying the energy mix is the way to go.
"Investment in innovation, digitisation and other research and development thrust in the energy sector are key interventions which will introduce a radical shift and accelerate efforts towards increased access."
Dr Magombo said President Mnangagwa's Vision 2030, of attaining an upper middle income status requires improved, clean and sustainable energy supply. She said that vision resonates with other Sadc member states.
"The emphasis on investment has been very clear and that as Sadc we are a market with many competitive advantages. The evidence of traction towards increasing access is there at regional level and what is needed is some acceleration," she said.
Dr Magombo said the political will was there at regional level as evidenced by Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi's call for the region to co-operate to boost availability of power.
She said technical input and investment remain the outstanding issues, which should be addressed by experts, including the energy regulators.
About 50 percent of the Sadc population have no access to modern energy sources. RERA wants all the people to have access to modern power so that no one is left behind.
Said Dr Magombo: "Consumers in the region want to see improved action while investors expect a change in approach and us as Government look out for quick turnaround on key decisions."
The conference, which officially ended yesterday with an annual general meeting, ran from Monday under the theme, "Creating a conducive environment to enhance regional energy security, trade and investment".