Zimbabwe relies heavily on hydroelectricity and coal for its energy needs. Wood is also still important. Petroleum accounts for only a small percentage of Zimbabwe's total energy consumption, but provides most motor fuels. A pipeline from the Mozambique port of Beira to Mutare provides the majority of Zimbabwe's refined petroleum and diesel oil; the rest comes from South Africa. Mobil's recent exploration in the Zambezi Valley has showed some promise for locating natural gas reserves, but not for oil. Coal reserves in Zimbabwe were estimated at about 809 million tons at the beginning of 1998. Production in 1994 totaled 5.5 million tons, with much of that amount going to the coal-fired Hwange plant for electricity production. In 1982, a plant producing ethanol from sugarcane opened and now produces some 20% of motor fuel requirements. The use of solar energy is increasing. As of 2000, the government planned to electrify over 500 districts and rural service points using solar energy.
Power production was virtually all from coal-burning thermal plants until the construction of a 666,000 kW hydroelectric power project at Kariba Gorge on the Zambezi River, begun in 1955 as a joint undertaking with Zambia and the UK. Electrical production is shared with Zambia. In 2000, Zimbabwe produced6.4 billion kWh of electricity, of which 53.3% was from fossil fuels and 46.7% from hydropower. Consumption of electricity in 2000 was 10.5 billion kWh. Installed capacity in 2001 was 1,881,000 kW.