SADC region urged to have common position on use of coal

Chief Air Marshall (Rtd) Perrance Shiri

By Wallace Mawire

 Zimbabwe’s Minister
of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Chief Air
Marshall (Rtd) Perrance Shiri has urged the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) region to come up with a common position on the use of coal as
the global agenda for global nations to adopt clean and renewable forms of
energy gather momentum.

 Minister Shiri made
the remarks at the just ended inter-ministerial dialogue on climate change held
in Harare on 6 September, 2019.

 He said that it was
now very necessary for countries in the SADC region, such as Zimbabwe,
Mozambique and South Africa which were using coal as a source of energy to come
up with a common position on how they could transition to other alternative
forms of clean energy.

 However, Minster
Shiri, commenting on the situation in Zimbabwe with regards to the use of coal,
said that the country was endowed with billions of tonnes of coal which it
heavily relied on for thermal power generation and it was not going to be so
easy to let go without any meaningful commensurate benefit for the country.

  The minister also
said that there was great potential to harness new technologies on the use of
coal which had been adopted by other countries.

 The remarks come in
the wake of his recent visit to Japan, where the possibility of use of new
clean coal technologies had been explored with officials in that country.

  Zimbabwe’s climate
change management department Director, Washington Zhakata, at the same meeting
said that the country was moving on a path to eliminate the use of fossil
fuels, such as coal. He said that Hwange Power Station was generating at least
60% of the country’s power from coal.

 “The situation has
also been exarcebated due to dwindling water resources at Zambezi river and
Kariba dam. This has seen a reduction in the levels of hydro-power generation
in the country,”Zhakata said.

  He added that Zimbabwe
also needed to place itself in the global scenario and align itself with
on-going declarations in the fight against climate change.

  According to
Zhakata, some of the African countries which had aligned themselves with the
declarations on the phasing out of coal under the Paris Agreement include
Nigeria, Togo and Algeria.

 At the same meeting,
it was also revealed that in Zimbabwe, the major sources of energy were from
thermal power which is reported to contribute to climate change.

  It was also however,
noted that the country was to soon launch the renewable energy and bio-fuels
policies in a bid to discourage continued use of fossil fuels.

  It was also revealed
that Zimbabwe was in the process of establishing two more coal fired thermal
power units at Hwange Power Station.

  However, Lawrence
Mashungu, an officer in the climate change management department said that the
proposed plants were to be energy efficient, although using coal power.

 The additional units
are also expected to help alleviate Zimbabwe’s power crisis.       


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