3 September 2013 – Zimbabwe’s rural electrification agency (REA) has invited bids to roll out 64 institutional biogas digesters in the country’s eight provinces. REA is a subsidiary of Zimbabwe’s electricity utility, Zesa Holdings.

According to tender documents, the bidding was open to companies and agents that are involved in the design, sizing, positioning and construction (installation) of institutional biogas digester systems. Zimbabwe faces a lack of capacity in the design, construction and management of large biogas installations in both the private and public sectors.

NewsDay reports that in view of the challenges faced by rural Zimbabwean communities in terms of energy accessibility and affordability, the country’s energy and power development ministry is promoting the development of biogas technology, particularly in these areas.

The proposed rollout of the biogas digesters comes at a time when Zesa has been struggling to meet electricity requirements. Zimbabwe generates an average of 1,500 MW while imports are 150 MW.

Zimbabwe, according to REA, has been mainly promoting small scale household digesters, the majority of which are the Chinese fixed dome type, or cheaper variants. Official figures showed that there were nearly 400 biogas digesters constructed in the country scattered across the rural areas. A few institutional digesters were built by some missionaries at Monte Casino in Macheke, Brunapeg in Plumtree and St Luke’s Mission in Lupane in the late 1980s.

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