Botswana ranks low in clean energy investment


Collaboration between government and the private sector is key to developing clean energy sources, and deviate from traditional coal dependency, experts have advised.

Botswana is ranked low in clean energy investment, according to the Climatescope 2014 Report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Total investment in the clean energy regime was at  $6.2 million between the period 2006 and 2013, according to analysts, while the total clean energy generation is at 252. 1 GWh (gigawatt-hours).

During a media briefing in Gaborone yesterday, Cape Town -based renewable energy analyst, Keegan Kruger said there was cost-effective potential in renewable energy especially for developing economies. Kruger, who is at the forefront of Bloomberg’s clean investment consultancy-Climatescope, said despite the abundance, solar energy remained untilised although Botswana was grappling with power outages.

He further said regional partnerships with South Africa for instance were critical and ranked 1st in the continent in terms of clean energy investment. Kruger added that technologies such as concentrated solar power, systems that generate solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy, were advanced, hence Botswana stood to gain from its neighbours’ expertise.

The local power sector currently relies on coal for 60 percent of its power generation while ‘approximately one-third of the population lacks access to electricity of any kind’, according to Kruger. He also said relevant skills and funding partnerships were critical to ensuring that the country arrives at the right sustainable energy mix.

The country has been found to be lagging behind in terms of enabling policies to achieve a green energy sector. Government is currently crafting a national energy policy, which outlined new strategies and highlighted the need for renewables to be integrated into the power sector. “However, the current framework provides no specific incentives for clean energy and the impetus for implementing the new policy in the near future is unclear,” reads the summary of the Climatescope 2014 Report.

Investment in clean energy technologies does not only pay dividends to the climate, explained Kruger, it is also cost effective relative to building coal power stations. “It also comes with new businesses and employment opportunities for the country as well,” he said.

Climatescope is a measurement tool for country-by-country assessment for renewable energy investment and uptake in the wake of climate change.

It provides data as well as indexing countries based on clean energy investment and climate financing, greenhouse gas management activities, clean energy value chains and policy. The consultancy is jointly financed by the US and British governments.

According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) billed for Paris, France later this year, will once again feature the Sustainable Innovation Forum. The forum is said to be the largest business-focused sub-event that convenes participants from business, government, NGOs and civil society, to bolster business innovation in the climate change arena.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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