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World Urged to Embrace Renewable Energy

Oil and gas are fossil fuels and the International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organisation that was created to promote a sustainable energy future has stepped up its fight against the use of fossil fuels.

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After several years of acute power outages and depending on expensive power generators, Uganda currently generates about 800MW, slightly above the 520MW demand.

                  

The electricity demand is said to be growing at more than 10% per year and government is putting up projects to beat the escalating demand.

Apart from the three power dams already under construction, government intends to use the first crude oil to generate electricity. Also, the 500 billion cubic feet of confirmed gas reserves will be used to generate electricity.

Oil and gas are fossil fuels and the International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organisation that was created to promote a sustainable energy future has stepped up its fight against the use of fossil fuels.

At its last council meeting in Abu Dhabi recently, the agency announced that it had included climate change among its objectives.

The Agency's Director General Adnan Amin said in his speech that the need to decarbonise energy to address climate change is becoming a driving force for deployment of renewable energy.

Talking to Uganda Radio Network on the side lines of the meeting, Amin said that the agency has realised that it can't run away from its responsibility of addressing the problem of climate change.

He wonders why we insist on using fossil fuels which contribute about 75% of the green emissions when there is enough renewable energy potential.

“There is enough renewable energy potential to power the world over and over.” Said Amin adding that the world has been using conventional energy sources in a very unsustainable way.

Amin added that the agency's studies had shown that not only can renewable energy meet the world's rising demand, but can do so cheaply while contributing to limiting global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius.

IRENA is promoting the use of renewable energy through zoning and resource assessment which helps countries establish their renewable energy potential.

In the case of Uganda, state minister for energy Simon D'Ujanga says with the agency's support, Uganda will go a long way in solving the energy problems of supply, access, affordability and sustainability.

Uganda is said to have more than 3000MW renewable energy potential excluding hydro which contributes more than 80% to the country's energy mix.

D'Ujanga says that the country has already benefited from the exchange of information and the resource assessment programmes adding that the ministry has already proposed a number of projects that could be funded by the agency.

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He says that Uganda welcomes and identifies itself with the agency's objectives saying that renewable energy is the way to go given its sustainability and positive impact on climate.

But D'Ujanga cautions the agency to recognize the fact that not every country is at the same stage to identify what kind of help is needed.

The African continent has a huge power deficit amidst a speedy growing population as research shows that the continent will by 2050 be home to 2 billion people.

Of the 2 billion people, 3 out of 5 will live in cities and electricity demand is expected to more than triple.

IRENA has created a programme to focus on the South and Eastern Africa power pools to curtail the immense use of fossil fuels and to expand power generation.

The African Clean Energy Corridor- ACEC is tasked with promoting the development of clean, indigenous, cost-effective renewable power option in the region.

Through zoning and resource assessment, IRENA has established that Renewable energy sources could potentially meet 40-50% of power needs in Southern Africa and Eastern Africa by 2030.

Currently, more than three quarters of the power in the region is from fossil fuels; coal in the South and oil and gas in the East which is fast becoming economically and environmentally unsustainable.

Amin said that the agency has identified problems and is devising means of addressing financing constraints through risk mitigation.

About 70% of global energy comes from non-renewable sources.

IRENA targets the doubling of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030, a target it found to be technically feasible.

But participants from more than 90 countries who were present at the meeting said that the agency needs to adapt a more analytical approach if this is to be achieved.

Most of the participants said that changes should be made for the needed transformation urging the agency to find ways of supporting governments with issues of financing.

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