Demand for renewable energy in Southern African Development Community region increases
London, March 7, 2019 (AltAfrica)-The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is seeing a significant increase in the number and quality of its renewable energy and energy efficiency policies.
This is according to a new status report prepared by the Namibia-hosted SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).
According to the report, decentralized renewable energy generation and distribution has proven to be a clean and cost-effective way of increasing energy access in remote areas.
Developing the renewable energy market by utilizing the region’s vast potential to expand access to modern, reliable and affordable energy services has therefore become a key regional priority.
According to Executive Director Kuda Ndhlukula, the report presents the region’s renewable energy market development, highlights opportunities, provides perspectives and lists a pipeline of projects and investment needs.
“The understanding of the SADC region’s emerging renewable energy industry, market development and growth is critical to realizing the region’s potential and to scaling up investment opportunities,” said Khaled El Mekwad, UNIDO Representative and Head of South Africa Regional Office, also referring to the long-standing partnership between UNIDO and SADC. “As a regional centre, SACREEE is in a unique position to accelerate the energy and climate transformation in SADC by creating economies of scales, equal progress and spill-over effects between countries.”
Since 2015, SADC Member States have greatly increased their commitment to renewable energy, viewing it as a normal part of their energy generation planning. This includes important innovations in tariffs, increased use of independent power producers to meet growing electricity demand, and new legislation to stimulate mini-grids and distributed renewable energy.
The overall share of renewables in the region’s power capacity increased from 23.5 per cent in 2015 to approximately 38.7 per cent in mid-2018.
Despite considerable achievements, some barriers still remain, including the continued development of traditional, non-renewable energy sources and the lack of local employment opportunities in the sector.
Officially launching the report, Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Kornelia Shilunga, encouraged all stakeholders to use the document as a case study and to take advantage of opportunities in the SADC to develop a favourable environment for increasing the uptake of clean energy.
SACREEE was established with technical support from UNIDO and financial assistance from ADA.