The forum was meant to raise awareness of media personnel and other stakeholders on the opportunities of renewable energy, share success stories and best practices of the renewable energy projects in The Gambia. It was held at the Tango offices in Kanifing.
In his remarks, the deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Mr Demba Bah, said the country relies almost entirely on imported fossil fuel and traditional biomass to meet its energy needs.
He stated: that the high cost of imported fuel and the volatile oil market presents a significant burden on the government, hence the gap between demand and supply for electricity in the country.
He said, ‘’Renewable energy offers a clean alternative to fossil fuel-dependent electricity generation in The Gambia, not only are the ongoing operations and maintenance costs significantly lower than HFO and diesel-based systems they could replace; they also result in avoided GHG emissions and less reliance on the external oil market.”
Bah stated that the key provisions in the Renewable Energy 2013 Act include the establishment of an Renewable Energy fund, general incentives for Renewable Energy facilities, streamlining the permitting process, adequate training for installers of Renewable Energy equipment, development of Feed-in-Tariff Rules and development of technical and standard requirements and certification of Renewable Energy installations for RE systems.
He expressed appreciation to EU Delegation to The Gambia, for the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility, and GEF/UNIDO for supporting the development of the Renewable Energy Act of The Gambia.
On his part, PURA acting director general, Ansumana Sanneh, said the media has a key role to play in educating the public on issues affecting their daily lives which is fundamental for socio-economic progress. He said renewable energy is a key part of the national energy policy because almost all the electricity generated in The Gambia is based on fossil fuels. He added that diversifying the energy source is a sensible option for a nation like The Gambia blessed with almost year-round sunshine.
“As a local resource, Renewable Energy has a great potential to create a modern and efficient economy, as well as create thousands of highly
skilled jobs for our young people,” he said.
Omar Bah of the National Environment Agency, in his remarks, said the role of energy in sustainable development is crucial, adding that energy use in developing countries like The Gambia is closely linked to a range of economic and social issues, poverty alleviation, education, health, population growth, employment, enterprise, communication, urbanisation and a lack of opportunities for women.
He said cooking with poorly ventilated stoves has significant health impacts, and that many women and children in the rural areas spend several hours a day gathering firewood and carrying water for household needs.
He pointed out that lack of electricity means inadequate lighting, limited communications and no access to refriger
ation and income-generating opportunities.
He said in their planning and implementation of activities, there is a need to research and to make information more readily available to enable the energy users incorporate energy efficiency in their daily practices.]]>