Looking from out of space into the African continent at night, Botswana is a dark patch with no lights whilst surrounding countries sparkle with electric lights. Newly elected Renewable Energy Association of Botswana (REAB) Secretary, Tobias Bader has stated that Botswana energy sector needs to do a lot more to provide energy to the masses.
Bader was speaking at the launch of the association in Gaborone last week. He said the current situation gives a platform for renewable energy researchers, manufacturers and innovators to play a big part in the provision of power to the country. To reiterate his point, Bader highlighted that humans have developed sophisticated technologies such as satellites that take pictures from out of space and facilitate human space travel whilst ignoring to provide essential electricity to others. He said there is a huge portion of the country that could benefit from renewable energy such as solar since the country receives around 3 200 hours of sunshine annually. He also noted that there is only up to 0.26 percent of the energy uptake.
Representing the mining industry, Boikanyo Paya said the major power consuming tenets of the economy being mining, industry, buildings and transport sectors provide opportunities to utilise renewable energy. Paya said both coal and solar energy have significant roles to play in energy provision in the country. “REAB must strive not only to achieve its laudable objectives but also move along the innovation pathway to support research ideas through incubation, entrepreneurial ventures and building prototypes and products,” he advised.
According to Paya there are massive untapped underground coal reserves (about 212 billion tons) that REAB members need to look into exploitating while paying attention to effects on climate change. He wished the association rapid growth to contribute to the energy sector. Paya said by so doing, the organization will enhance the country’s socio-economic development whilst minimizing the country’s carbon footprint and environmental degradation.
Acting Director at the Department of Energy in the Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security, Thuso Matshameko said the association will endeavor to promote consultations, reflections and deliberations on key issues in the field of Renewable Energy Technology (RET) in Botswana. “The association presents stakeholders with a unique forum for sharing information, analyzing the latest developments involving RET,” he said, adding that the association is also a platform to advocate for partnerships and networks both nationally and internationally.
Matshameko also said the association will support further development of cost-effective, sustainable energy generation and consumption solutions likely to be adopted in Botswana.