Energy in Zimbabwe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Energy in Zimbabwe is a serious problem for the country. Mainly, extensive use of firewood leads to deforestation and the electricity production capacity is too low for the current level of consumption.


Fuelwood is the most important domestic fuel in Zimbabwe. It was estimated to stand for about 50% of the total consumption in 2001.[1] This has led to deforestation in parts of the country with accompanying environmental problems such as erosion and diminishing wildlife.


Zimbabwe has 30 billion tons of coal in 21 known deposits. This could last for over 100 years at the 2001 rate of production.

In September 2013, the Chinese-backed company, China Africa Sunlight Energy, said it would begin work in early 2014 on a 600 MW coal-fired electricity plant in western Zimbabwe, part of $2 billion of energy projects in the country.[2]

Liquid Fuels[edit]

Zimbabwe has no oil or gas resources of its own and is completely dependent on imports for this source of energy.[3] A pipeline from the Mozambique port of Beira to Mutare provides the majority of Zimbabwe's refined petroleum and diesel oil; the rest comes from South Africa.[4] An ambitious project to produce 20% of the country's liquid fuel as ethanol from cane has been started in Chipinge, Manicaland.[5]


Electricity is generated at the Kariba Power Station (ca. 750 MW), the Hwange Thermal Power Station (installed capacity 920 MW) and three minor coal-fired stations. All coal-fired stations are in need of major upgrades due to neglect of maintenance and they have frequent production stops or are not producing at all. This leads to frequent and long lasting blackouts. The governmental owned Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is the countries power generating and distributing company. Imports of energy from neighbouring countries are not enough to solve the undercapacity problem and lack of electricity hampers economic growth. Small scale power generators are used all over the country to ease the situation.

Animal Power[edit]

Animal power is a very useful source of energy in Zimbabwe. It is estimated that animals contribute with the equivalent of 6.8 million liters of diesel in the agricultural sector.[1]

Renewable energy[edit]

Apart from the Kariba Dam power station, hydropower in Zimbabwe has still a lot of potential, especially along the Zambesi river. Solar power has enormous potential both in small scale, such as water heating or in larger scale such as in solar power plants. However, the nation's current economic condition makes adequately rapid solar power buildups seem unrealistic, short of capital infusions and technology transfers from the developed world economies. Wind turbine farms and biogas energy could be other possibilities for developing a Renewable energy infrastructure for Zimbabwe which could comply with the post-2015 sustainable development goals.


  1. ^ a b "Implementation of Renewable Energy Technologies - Opportunities and Barriers, Zimbabwe Country Study" (PDF). United Nations Environment Programme Collaborating Centre, Risøe, Denmark. 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  2. ^ China-backed firm plans 600 MW Zimbabwe electricity plant, International: Reuters, 2013 
  3. ^ CIA Factbook: Zimbabwe 2010
  4. ^ "Encyclopedia of the Nations". Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  5. ^ "Chipinge hope to Zimbabwe, The Zimbabwean". 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2010-11-17.