Need for public awareness on clean renewable energy

Climate change, power shortages and the rising cost of doing business have given precedence to the need for renewable clean energy such as biogas, solar and wind. However, utilization and implementation of sustainable energy sources comes at a time when the general public is in the dark in regards to importance, urgency and processes for the successful implementation of these projects.

Energy Council Spokesperson said there is need to raise public awareness renewable and sustainable energy in order to make sure everyone is aware, as this resonates well with United Nations campaign to promote clean energy production.

“In 2011, the United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and his team embarked on a global mission on issues to do with energy.  Energy had not been taken seriously even in the MDGs so he came up with a campaign that would change many people’s lives by putting it on the limelight,

“The global campaign touched and still is touching on all sectors including the poorest. How can an ordinary person in the street or in the rural areas have access to clean and renewable energy?” wondered Sithole, adding: “We want to make sure everyone has access to this energy.”

He said efforts have been made to make sure the options for renewable energy are many, which include solar, wind, biogas, thermal and among others.

“As a country, we are facing challenges with our Kariba hydro-power station, so we need to make different players  come in, including the private sector, NGOs and the Government. We also have Liquid Petroleum (LP) gas) available as an option.

“We have 300 days of solar out of the 365 days in Zimbabwe so we need to also take advantage and increase the number of renewable sources options,” he said

Sithole added everyone in rural or urban settings should have access to clean electricity and clean energy.

“Industry sustainability depends on energy and whether it is Government, the home, industry, education and health systems, they all need energy. We have a robust industry and our communities have an input in making sure this campaign is a success,” said Sithole

The media also plays a pivotal role in disseminating the necessary information to the public. Public awareness is the most important.

“The media plays an important role to unpack all this information and we cannot do without them for public awareness is important. We look at the effects of the power cuts and their impact on one’s life whether at school, at work, in industry or for those self-employed, on the health care system,” he added.

“What effect does this have on someone who is on life support system? What effects are being made to address these issues?

Reginald T.M Mapfumo, who is the HIVOS project manager for Green- Renewable energy, said these are some of the angles that need to be looked at and addressed.

“‘HIVOS is an international organisation which you find in Latin America, South East Asia located in Jakarta, East Africa based in Kenya and in Southern Africa, headquarted in Harare, Zimbabwe. We have launched the Green society in these nations to promote sustainable renewable energy for all by 2016,” he said, adding HIVOS are also working on a project in Mozambique which has seen great results.

“We need more voices in promoting the issue that is why the media is very important. In 2012 we came together with other organisations to deliberate on how to tackle this because we felt we were missing something.  The language was too technical and couldn’t relay the message properly to the person on the street,” explained Mapfumo,

“As a result, we decided to launch the journalists’ Bio-Fuel awards in order to encourage the media to give serious attention to this issue because we know once the media knows this, the whole world will become enlightened,”  he said

Media training through the use of tours and training help equip practitioners and  impart them with knowledge on how  to make the issues more understandable.