Energy regulators forge path towards renewables

10th annual RERA conferencePIC.KENNEDY RAMOKONE
10th annual RERA conferencePIC.KENNEDY RAMOKONE

The Regional Energy Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA) recently brought together regional energy regulators in a move aimed at forging stronger linkages as countries focus on sources of energy beyond the traditional fossil fuels.

RERA’s annual conference took place over four days in Gaborone last week, in the backdrop of the ongoing global debates on the optimal use of energy sources especially around coal which has been snubbed by the global community. Delegates at the conference debated factors such as cleanliness, cost, stability, efficiency and environmental effects, in an attempt to shape a regional narrative as regulators on decarbonisation and the need for energy security.

Deliberating at the conference, RERA chairperson, Motlatsi Ramafole, said that the region has been performing sub-optimally with regards to energy efficiency with lag on effects coming from the electricity crunch taking place in South Africa. Ramafole further said that the region has been plagued by gross price volatilities which serve as an alarm call for greater efforts to move to more sustainable sources of energy.

“A myriad of daunting developmental challenges have weighed in on energy efficiency in the region coupled with price volatility which have made it difficult for energy efficiency to be achieved,” he said.

For his part SADC executive secretary, Elias Magosi, revealed that regional access to electricity stands at 55% with the lowest country in the region standing at 13%.

This, according to Magosi, represents huge inadequacies and exposes the ever increasing demand for energy in the region.

“The region has been experiencing a rise in insufficient power supply amidst rising energy demand. There is need for more efforts in budgets to support renewable energy sources,” he said.

The Regional Energy Regulators Association of Southern Africa was established as a SADC institution in July 2002 following a resolution by the SADC Ministers of Energy Forum. Membership of RERA has grown from the initial four SADC member states (Lesotho, Zambia, South Africa and Namibia) over the years to 14 with Democratic Republic of Congo, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros being the only member states without representation. Botswana joined in 2018 after the formation of Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA).

RERA’s main objective is to ensure regional cooperation to address increasing integration of energy infrastructure system and to take advantage of significant benefits from economies of scale and shared resources. The organisation also exists to allow a framework for transactions in the energy sector to take place as well as to harmonise and integrate energy market structures.

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