Namibia guns for Renewables
Namibia has joined four other countries in the bid to host the proposed regional centre for the promotion of renewable energy in southern Africa.
According to the meeting by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Energy Thematic Group held earlier in September in Botswana, bids to host the proposed SADC Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREE) have been received from Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The Energy Thematic Group (ETG) meeting takes place twice a year at the SADC Secretariat and is preceded by a meeting of the International Cooperating Partners (ICPs) working in the energy sector.
The Economist communicated with the Head of SADC Public Relations at the SADC Secretariat, Leefa Penehupifo Martin who said, “All countries have equal chances of hosting the centre. All things being equal, the country which has submitted the best offer will be recommended to be the host. The final decision of the host rests with the Ministers of Energy.”
The decision of the ministers is set be forwarded to the SADC Council in February 2015, which would give final approval.
Said Martin, “The purpose of the centre is to help increase access to modern energy services and improved energy security for the people across the SADC Region by promotion of market-based renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE&EE) technologies and energy services.
In this regard, SADC countries have intensified efforts on how to exploit renewable energy resources such as wind, hydro-power and solar.
She added, “the host country will benefit in several ways if SACREEE is to be established and these will include employment opportunities for local positions at the centre; first- hand information concerning regional projects and financing opportunities.
“The centre will act as a regional information hub for renewable energy and energy efficiency which should be of great benefit to the media; the centre will conduct test trials for different technologies which will involve local entrepreneurs and artisans; officers employed in regional positions and the numerous meetings and training workshops will inject foreign exchange in the host the host-country will gain reputation and prestige of becoming a regional hub for the UN-led global Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative” she elaborated.
In terms of funding of the project Martin said, “initially the centre will be funded by the Austrian Development Agency ADA and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Agency). The European Union Commission as well as other International Cooperating Partners has shown interest in contributing to funding the centre.”
“However, it is foreseen that in the long term SADC Member States will eventually buy in to support the centre based on the added value the centre will create in the RE&EE sector (as they have done so also for the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency ECREEE),” she added.
Establishment of the centre will be done in three phases from the selection of the host country to the official inauguration.
The First Operational Phase is to run for three years. Priority focus of this phase will be to develop flagship projects and mobilize additional resources while the Second Operational Phase is also to run for three years and will involve development of new business plans; development and implementation of a sustainability plan for the centre; and finally expansion of the activities which may include recruitment of more staff.
The centre will focus on the following: solar energy; biomass energy; wind energy; biofuels; low impact hydro-power and geothermal generation. Liquid and solid waste conversion and other technologies maybe added later based on new and emerging information in the respective SADC member states.