RERA tackles energy deficit, decarbonisation debate

In session: Delegates at the RERA panel discussions on Tuesday PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
In session: Delegates at the RERA panel discussions on Tuesday PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

The annual conference of the Regional Energy Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA) kicked off earlier today, with senior officials debating how to address the region’s energy deficit while reducing carbon emissions.

By the last estimates, Southern Africa’s had an electricity deficit of more than 10 gigawatts and is also largely dependent on imports for other forms of energy such as petroleum. While coal is abundant in the region, its burning is associated with high carbon emissions which are responsible for the quickening global pace of climate change.

Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) acting caretaker CEO, Pelaelo Kgomotso, told the conference that the region was caught in a dilemma about how to provide energy to its citizens, whilst adhering to global commitments to cut down on carbon emissions.

“Our region is facing an energy paradox situation,” he said. “We have abundant resources and yet we are energy deficient. “We have to import most of these products and we are prone to pricing issues and geopolitics in the global village.”


He added: “How do we get on a path to a secure and sustainable energy future?”

Africa is one of the least energy self-sufficient regions of the world, with large swathes of its population unconnected to electricity and dependent on primal sources of energy such as firewood. The continent also has a large infrastructure deficit which means the production of petroleum is not easily transferrable between those nations that produce and those that do not.

While countries on the continent have signed up to global climate change conventions which require a gradual phase down in fossil fuel usage, Africa is estimated to contribute less than five percent of the world’s carbon emissions. The continent is paradoxically amongst the areas that will be hardest hit by climate change’s effects.

BERA officials said that the conference would address the role regulators should play to ensure countries achieve both energy security and carbon emissions reduction. RERA members will assess progress made by countries on both goals and “induce further scientific research on ensuring sustainable and clean use of the ‘dirty’ sources of energy”.

The RERA conference, which will officially be launched tomorrow by Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane, is scheduled to focus on the theme, “Regulators’ Role in Improving Energy Security and Reducing Carbon Intensity”.

The conference is due to run until Friday.

Editor's Comment
Let’s get the constitutional amendment right

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