Category Archives: Steppes

Eastern and Southern Ukraine spearhead Ukraine’s wind energy potential: one of the highest in Europe

In the last 30 years, renewable energy sources like wind, geothermal, solar have been responsible for production of almost 93% of Costa Rica’s energy.

Renewables in Europe stand at the following percentage point:

Croatia 29%

Portugal 28%

EU average 16,7%

Sweden 15%

Germany 15%

Ukraine 1,2%

Ukraine’s wind energy potential is one of the highest in Europe.

German technology-based Furlander Windtechnology in Kramatorsk assembles 3.2 МW wind turbines and is  the only such manufacturer in the Commonwealth of Independent States that formed during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. A wind turbine this powerful can supply enough energy to a village of 2,000-3,000 people.

Furlander Windtechnology in Kramatorsk has the annual production capacity of 100 turbines. One of its recent clients was a wind farm in Kazakhstan.

To the south-west, Rinat Akhmetov’s DTEK Windpower-owned Botiyevska wind farm sports an installed capacity of 200 MW and is the largest wind farm in Ukraine. Located on the Sea of Azov  shore in Zaporizhia oblast, it is one of the five largest on-shore wind farms in Central and Eastern Europe.

With its 65 Dutch-made 3.075 МW, 400 ton Vestas turbines, Botiyevska generated in 2016  600 million kW/h of energy — enough to supply a 100,000-strong community.

Advertisements

Zimbabwe’s localised, restructured economy of the 2010s: Harare/Bulawayo vs Zimbabwean secondary cities

Smaller cities across Africa are projected to double/triple in population over the next 15-25 years.

Ways to classify Zimbabwean urban areas

Given the structural adjustment policies, decline in off-farm opportunities and remittance flows, access to productive land is a major factor in ensuring balanced growth and effective service delivery in Zimbabwe’s 7-tier hierarchy of urban areas:

consolidated villages,

business centers,

rural service centers,

district service centers,

growth points,

towns

and cities.

While in the drier parts of Zimbabwe, many people have taken to mining/mineral extraction as a source of livelihoods. Several million of them. On a regular basis.

As a result, over 70% of small-scale miners have some level of mercury poisoning.

In the colonial era, towns grew where there was economic activity.

Apart from the likes of Harare and Bulawayo, there were:

Mining towns: Zvishavane, Mashava, Hwange, Shurugwi, Kadoma and Kwekwe

Estate towns: Chiredzi and Triangle

White farming towns: Chinoyi, Bindura or West Nicholson

Consider setting up your second home in a smaller town of Zimbabwe

Land reform in Zimbabwe localised the economy. Increasingly, benefits are generated in towns like Mvurwi — home to 7,500 — in Mashonaland Central. Whereas Zimbabwean megalopolises — like the capital city Harare — suffer from unregulated construction, overpopulation, power and water cuts, underemployment and strained sanitation and waste management systems.

As of October 2016, some 1,100 tonnes of garbage were generated daily in Harare.  Twice as much as that found in Johannesburg. This is partly due to slack in managing the packaging of food stuffs. Over 70 % of  domestic waste in Harare is biodegradable. But who will lead the way in the hectic city of over 1,600,000 people.

Can you keep it clean with just two automated sweepers operated by the city council?

Bulawayo is a different story. But similar in many ways.

Now let’s look at what is happening outside Zimbabwe’s mega cities.

Growth point Maphisa in Matobo district, Matabeleland South had 6 supermarkets as of October 2016 (when before 2000 there were none), 8 butcheries (from 4), 5 hardware stores (from 1) and over 30 kombi operators.

The occupied high-density stands have shot up from 223 to 1,118, while the medium-density ones have increased from 121 to 498.

Of course you can say that Harare, Masvingo and Bulawayo have all of that and much more. But the question here is comparative growth potential and harmonizing the community. In the restructured, unequally distributed economy that Zimbabwe is, managing smaller communities with their localized economies is potentially more doable than the bigger, more diverse ones.

And in terms of quality of living — with fast (even though still relatively expensive) internet, plus off-grid power from renewables like solar — we vote for smaller towns as the engines of growth in Zimbabwe.

This is what makes Zimbabwe’s provincial urban areas tick

In Chatsworth, a small town between Masvingo and Gutu-Mpandawanda, high-density stands cost USD900, medium-density USD1,400 and low-density USD4,000.

To operate a butchery and food outlet another businessman pays monthly rent of USD350. Buying two-three beasts per week, he pays USD400 – USD500 per each  and sells meat to customers at USD5 per kg.

Yet another local entrepreneur opened a large supermarket in 2012 that gets up to 200 customers cross its doors every day. She employs 34 people.

Earned in a day in Zimbabwe’s secondary towns 

I used proceeds from the hardware store to educate my children and to build my house. I built another house at my parents’ home nearby, — a businesswoman from Gutu.

Two hardware shops generate about USD300 per day each selling ploughs, harrows, cultivators as well as building materials to residents developing their stands in Chatsworth.

A cattle owner in Maphisa gets around USD800 per beast in Bulawayo. And USD50 per goat.

A brick loader in Mvurwi can get USD8. A transporter can get USD80 after accounting for fuels. Open market vendors in Chatsworth, a growth point of over 1,000 residents (and one hair salon) in Gutu district, Masvingo province, generate about USD10.

Resettled farmers start to compete with the vendors for customers: selling door to door to residents and schools.

Value supply chain in/between Zimbabwe’s secondary cities

Agro-vendors in Chatsworth — mostly women without land — have amplified the economic effect. Making use of the good transport connection to Masvingo they have made significant profits, and are the new landlords in the town: now investing intensively in new building projects.

Open market vendor in Maphisa pays USD10 for the bus to and from Bulawayo, sometimes venturing into the City of Kings three times a week.

Whereas to ship cattle from Maphisa to Bulawayo, private transporters charge USD40 per animal.

About 90% of houses built in Mvurwi used common farm bricks. Bricks sell at USD30 per thousand plus add USD15 to transport them.

A three-tonne truck owner each quarter has to pay USD87 for the truck license.

Kombis plying the Chatsworth – Mpandawana route pay USD15-20 every day at the police road blocks for operating illegally. Gutu Council requires them to enter the Mupandawana Terminus to offload passengers. They pay USD2 for each entry.

I am forced to pick and offload customers door to door or at farm gate [using dirt roads] to remain popular and sustain business.

“It is expensive for people without own transport to buy building materials from Masvingo town and load it on the train [the train to Masvingo costs USD1] or public transport. Expenses of buying from afar forces them to buy from us,” shares a Chatsworth salesman.

Special thanks to Ian Scoones and his https://zimbabweland.wordpress.com/ blog

Here is why you aren’t yet invested in rural Zimbabwe’s solar. And why you need to start investing

As of September 2016, some 23 independent energy producers were reported to have license in Zimbabwe, a country with a national electrification rate of 40%.

Rural electrification hovers at around 21%.

Private investors are mostly not convinced that they can make a profit in the rural market where the buying power is small and credits are meager.

The Southern African nation’s grid is mostly dependent on power imported from South Africa. Which is reportedly cheaper than what is generated locally. Population growth and energy demand meet years of under-investment in infrastructure.

Solar products are duty-free. But Zimbabwean government didn’t think of offering such fiscal incentives as feed-in tariffs, tax rebates and renewable energy certificates.

Without clear tariff structures for grid-connected green projects conflict is likely between private players and the Zimbabwe Energy Supply Authority (ZESA), which owns the grid

So, perfect storm?

But where the wind is strong, you can put a wind mast. Or a solar panel.

In Tanzania civil society has taken a more practical
approach as the government lacks resources to invest in
large energy infrastructure in rural areas.  Solar Sister entrepreneurs, local women from last-mile communities, invest in a stock of various solar and cooking products, that they then sell for a profit to their peers.

Only 36% of Tanzanians have access to electricity (21% in rural areas, similar to Zimbabwe).

Further north,  Kenyan women — just like Zimbabwean ones — have problems in accessing financial support from micro-finance and banking organisations to create last mile energy solutions.  Local banks have high interest loans: 15% to 25%. In 2016 civil society in the Eastern African nation launched a new project to support groups of female energy entrepreneurs to create ‘Village Savings and Loan Associations’, based on a traditional form of Kenyan village banking.

The Kenyan government’s VAT exemption applies to all solar PV equipment, including solar panels, batteries and controllers. Unlike Zimbabwe, Kenya has been offering a feed-in tariff scheme since 2012.

On average, in a day, a sq m of solar panel in Africa can generate 4 to 6 kW units of electricity — enough to power 400 to 600 10-watt light bulbs for one hour.

The fact that rural African consumers live far apart — plus their low buying power — makes the notion of setting up after-sales service centers in the distribution regions unviable.

Urban Africa may be different. Although we are far from critical mass there.  Strathmore University in Nairobi became the first zero-carbon footprint university in Africa when they installed a 600 kW roof-mounted solar system.

Watch this video to hear more from solar entrepreneurs that made it in rural and per-urban Zimbabwe, as they employed local youths.

Army help reduce shortage of schools in southern Zimbabwe, 108 to go

Summarized from a story by Thupeyo Muleya

Zimbabwe has to build 2,000 schools to meet current demand.

Out of which, 20 primary, 75 satellite and 13 secondary schools are lacking in Matabeleland South.

The province also has to cope with a dropout trend at secondary level, where children had to walk for 5-10 km to the nearest school. Most of the dropouts come from communities living along the borders with Botswana and South Africa.

Major General Trust Mugoba, Zimbabwean army’s Chief of Staff responsible for operations and training says Beitbridge had the least number of army-initiated infrastructure development projectsand the army works to address this issue.

Beitbridge is a Zimbabwean  border town located just north of the Limpopo River, 321 km north-west to Bulawayo and 585 km north-east to Harare via Masvingo. The Beitbridge border post is the busiest road border post in southern Africa.