SADC regional energy framework needs revision – Energy Minister
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is challenged with security of supply in the energy and water sectors, which prompts for the review of the regional energy framework in order reflect the current challenges and opportunities that will guide the region’s energy future, Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo said.
Alweendo, who delivered the keynote speech at the 38th Joint Meeting for Ministers responsible for Energy and Ministers responsible for Water last week in Windhoek, noted that it is evident that demand for water and energy is increasing and will continue to increase in line with the region’s developmental strides but also due to the ever changing climatic conditions.
“The impacts of climate change are becoming more evident and detrimental as seen by the recent cyclones, flooding and prevalent drought in the SADC region during the past rainy seasons. The effects of extreme climatic conditions threaten our livelihoods; water, energy and food security in the region,” Alweendo stressed.
Saying that the security of energy supply is threatened, Alweendo explained that aging fossil fuel plants have come to the end of their lifespan and need to be decommissioned. He further stressed that financing for fossil fuel plants has dried up or comes with stringent conditions attached.
“The age of an environmentally conscious consumer coupled with availability of alternative technologies necessitates us as leaders to make more radical sustainable choices to bring in new and sustainable infrastructure as well as upgrade our existing infrastructure,” Alweendo said.
Alweendo noted that if global warming is to be kept below 2° Celsius, an integrated approach is needed to face challenges, adding that the region has to stay abreast not just on regional trends but also international trends to prepare itself for the future.
The minister thus called on the SADC Secretariat to put all their efforts in concluding the revision of the Protocol on Energy of 1996, the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Regional Gas Master Plan, amongst others.