Nxuba wind farm
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Last year the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) invited bids from interested contractors to carry out feasibility studies on three potential sites for wind farms; however, prices quoted by the bidders far exceeded the estimated high level budget.

This was according to chief executive Eng Gloria Magombo, who spoke to the Herald Business.

Feasibility studies carried out on three sites with the highest energy potential indicate that wind energy would be far more expensive to develop, exceeding the allocated budget.

The purpose of the studies was to establish an accurate knowledge base of the wind resource available in Zimbabwe through measurement and analysis to help the country plan for renewable energy projects.

“We received the bids but we could not award the tender because the bid prices were too high,” said Magombo.

The intention is to measure wind speed and direction at these sites and remotely collect data for 24 months at a hub height of 100 meters.

The data and information generated is expected to be used in designing large-scale wind power projects, off-grid or mini-grid electric plants, use for water pumping and climate research. Read more: Gwanda solar project not making progress

Identified sites for wind energy

The areas where ZERA intends to conduct wind resource measurement include the middle veld from the south to the north eastern part of the country.

Media reported that the zones were identified after taking into consideration access to roads, terrain, proximity to load centres and land use (protected areas and other productive purposes).

The wind assessment programme was stimulated by a study conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency in 2015 through the Africa Clean Energy Corridor Programme, which identified solar photovoltaics, concentrating solar power and wind energy zones covering countries in the power pools of Eastern and Southern Africa.

Zimbabwe is looking at expanding electricity generation from non-fossil fuels as part of efforts to partly meet its carbon emissions reduction targets by 2030.

The country is a signatory to the Paris climate change accord agreed in 2015, which seeks to hold the increase of the global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius.

African Utility Week