Zesa, Nust collaborate to train Zesa employees Mr Thokozani Dube (centre) poses for a picture with Nust Innovation and Business Development pro-vice chancellor Dr William Goriwondo (left) and Zesa acting head corporate services Mr Antony Mutambirwa after receiving his certificate for the Total Electrification Programme in Bulawayo yesterday

Sikhulekelani Moyo, [email protected]

Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) in conjunction with National University of Science and Technology (Nust) is capacitating its workforce by providing critical skills in renewable energy equipment installation.

The power utility firm said by providing training in renewable energy, it is directly contributing to the national development goal of access to energy for all by 2030.

To that end, Zesa, in collaboration with the Nust is running a Total Electrification Programme to train its employees.

The programme has seen 836 workers from Zesa benefitting from the first cohort with 621 set to receive their certificates in Harare on Thursday.

A total of 215 employees from the Western and Southern Region graduated in Bulawayo yesterday.

Last year, Zesa and Nust signed a Memorandum of Understanding which was later turned into a Memorandum of Agreement whereby Nust and Zesa will work together to train Zesa employees.

The programme is targeting to capacitate Zesa employees with solar installation skills as the country moves towards sustainable energy sources.

In a speech read on his behalf by Zesa Holdings acting head corporate services Mr Antony Mutambirwa, Zesa Holdings executive chairperson Dr Sydney Gata said the Total Electrification programme is dedicated to building capacity and advancing knowledge in the field of renewable energy, particularly solar.

“The Total Electrification programme stands as a testament to Zesa’s vision and mission, aligning seamlessly with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS-1) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“As we pursue the four pillars of NDS1 — macroeconomic stability, financial re-engagement, inclusive growth, and governance, with a focus on social development, we recognise that expansion in critical areas such as the energy sector, is pivotal to achieving economic growth,” said Dr Gata.

“By providing training in renewable energy, we directly contribute to the national development goal of sustainable access to energy for all by 2030, and strengthening our commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly power solutions.”

He said one of the key success points of the initiative  was the successful training of Zesa employees in Solar PV installation and maintenance including 10 National Training Centre (NTC) trainers in train-the-trainer programme.

Dr Gata said the graduates of the train- the-trainer programme are now able to train others in solar installation and maintenance.

He said this has not only enhanced capacity but has also empowered the power utility firm to roll out sustainable energy programmes more effectively.

“The collaboration between Zesa and Nust has been a driving force behind the success of our programme. Nust’s pool of experts and courses in renewable energy perfectly complement our objectives.

“This collaboration will significantly reduce our dependency on the traditional grid, marking a strategic shift towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy solutions,” said Dr Gata.

Nust Innovation and Business Development pro-vice chancellor Dr William Goriwondo representing Nust Vice Chancellor Professor Mqhele Dlodlo said the availability of reliable power supply is a basic requirement for all Zimbabweans and improved access to energy supplies is fundamentally important for all other industrial and domestic services as spelt out in NDS 1.

“Access to a reliable and quality energy supply is at the heart of the country’s economic development as it drives industrialisation, boosts productivity and economic growth, spurs human development and is crucial to the achievement of Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030.

Prof Dlodlo said Nust, a leader in human capital development for industrial and socio-economic transformation with a bias towards science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a vital cog of the country’s development trajectory.”

“About 80 percent of the rural population lack access to electricity while the country is overly dependent on hydro power, which comes with many challenges including effects of climatic change.

“This has seen the country relying on power imports on the backdrop of regional shortages. Therefore, rural electrification with the use of renewable energy such as solar is a welcome development,” he said.

“Total electrification will result in improved individual quality of life and facilitate community services such as health and education and enable rural businesses to provide efficient and quality services for rural populations.”

The Government crafted the national renewable energy policy strategy to achieve and install a renewable capacity of 1 100MW or 16,5 percent of total electricity by 2025.

By 2030, the target is that the installed renewable energy capacity should be 2 100MW or 26,5 percent of the overall electricity supply.

To achieve the objective of powering the economy towards upper middle income by 2030, Government undertook to upgrade, rehabilitate and maintain its existing power generation infrastructure with priority being given to the development of new generation capacity through fast-tracking ongoing projects and opening new energy sources, which take cognisance of a diversified energy mix. — @SikhulekelaniM1

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