Energy democracy and Germany’s transition to renewable energy: What can Zimbabwe learn to end its electricity power woes?
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The research was conducted in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Power Company in Harare and Bulawayo. The major objective of the research was to contribute to resolve the electricity energy crises in Zimbabwe. Another objective of the research was to extract factors militating against renewable energy progression in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is facing its most severe power crisis in decades despite having the potential to generate enough renewable energy to meet its demands and even export surplus. The idea was also to develop policy recommendations and methodologies that will enable Zimbabwe to realize its renewable energy potential. Zimbabwe is characterized with high dependence on fossil fuels for its energy requirements proved costly to the Zimbabwean economy and its development priorities, yet the country is blessed with abundant renewables with a great potential if tapped. Data gathering was done using self-administered questionnaires and analysis of existing relevant documents concerning the topic in question. The population of the study consisted of principal managers/managers and directors employed within Zimbabwe Power Company. From this target population, a sample of 53 participants was drawn and out of these, 50 responded, yielding a response rate of 94%. SPSS and content analysis were used to process the data, thus a number of key findings emerged from this research. From the findings, it was shown that Germany’s model is applicable based on the conditions that Zimbabwe improve its business climate and stamp out corruption. The findings also indicated that progress was being undermined as a result of other factors which include inadequate infrastructure and lack of funding on the part of government. The research also established that, the concept of energy democracy is possible to implement. On the technical part, the findings indicated that solar is the best among the sustainable technical solutions required to improve Zimbabwe’s electricity problems. The Hybrid grid system was found to be among the most suitable. The information from the research led to the following recommendations: Zimbabwe should improve its business climate; Policy consistency on the part of the government; A sovereign wealth fund must be created to cater for new renewable energy projects; Power generation should be decentralized just to name a few.