Call to invest  in renewable  energy sector

Call to invest in renewable energy sector

Rose Moremoholo

MASERU

THE chairperson of the Regional Electricity Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA), Gloria Magombo, has called for investment in the renewable energy sector.
Speaking at the RERA 13th Annual Conference and general meeting held in Maseru yesterday, Magombo said the use of renewable energy can help in reversing the effects of climate change.
“Renewable energy plays a pivotal role in answering challenges of climate change and therefore there is need to invest more in the plans to use renewable energy,” Magombo said.
The conference, which is continuing today, seeks to address developmental challenges that African countries are still encountering many decades after independence.
Magombo says industrial growth has been stagnant for a long time.
She said two thirds of Africans in sub-Sahara do not have electricity.
Magombo said countries need to recognise the importance of infrastructure and should develop the use of renewable energy.
Magombo said renewable energy, in addition to addressing climate change, also empowers women and makes food security and poverty reduction achievable.
“We are going through a session of revolution in energy and we have to take up the task to use renewable energy,” she said.
Leboli Thamae, the chairperson of the Board of Directors of Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA), said the conference could have not come at a better time after the recently launched energy policy which puts great emphasis on renewable energy.
“This is a bold step indeed that strengthens and demonstrates RERA’s commitment to facilitate the exploration of the opportunities to use renewables in the region and in particular, Lesotho,” Thamae said.
Thamae said he found the objectives of this conference congruent with the United Nations framework on Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 7, which addresses the issue of “ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all”.
“There is no doubt that renewable energy is in the forefront of development initiatives and is a priority for our region,” Thamae said.
“This is so more because although the Southern African region is rich in renewable energy resources, it has not maximised the potential of these resources to satisfy its electricity demand,” he said.
Studies have indicated that there is an enviable potential for exploitation of renewable energy sources, such as hydro, solar and wind.
Thamae said LEWA has developed and completed regulatory frameworks for renewable energy resources.
“We have developed templates for renewable energy generation licences and renewable energy power purchase agreements,” he said.
“These frameworks are meant to level the playing field and prescribe requirements for entry into renewable electricity supply industry.”
The conference also discussed issues involving women in energy.
According to RERA, women and girls are often the principal energy managers in most households.
In rural areas, where there is heavy reliance on burning biomass such as wood and animal dung, women and girls are primarily responsible for collection of fuel and cooking in the home.
“Despite the above realities, there is a significant underrepresentation of women in energy industry workforce.
“In developed countries, the share of female employees in the energy industry is estimated at 20 percent, most working in non-technical fields such as administration and public relations,” RERA said in its statement.
“Worldwide, women account for only nine percent of the construction workforce and make up only 12 percent of engineers,” it said.

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