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Renewable energy needs regional investment

Aug 14, 2015, 9:54 AM

It has been stated that The Gambia still faces major challenges in the energy sector, despite making some achievements.

One of the challenges, as highlighted, is the over dependence of the country on imported fossil fuel to provide modern energy services.

“More than 95 per cent of The Gambia’s modern energy services are based on imported fossil fuels,” the Energy minister said.

Whilst this is not sustainable, it is also hitting hard on our economy as it continues to cause a huge drain on the country’s foreign reserves, making it vulnerable to foreign exchange risks.

This dire development has precipitated decisions and actions towards looking inward to utilize the indigenous energy resources of the country, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, which are sustainable, and “if judiciously exploited would go a long way in supporting the country’s economic development.”

Quite interesting though is the realization that, despite the fact that the problem has been noted and alternative energy resources have been considered, the path to really achieve long lasting result to this problem is concerted regional action and investment through channels like ECOWAS.

Regional integration is capable of providing solutions to many of development problems individual nations are facing. This is confirmed by the statement of the energy minister thus:

“In this age of globalization, major development initiatives are not often undertaken by nation states in isolation,” he said. “This is why under the umbrella of ECOWAS, member states came together to cooperate in the development of energy resources of the region.”

If regional efforts and resources are invested in developing renewable energy resources, it is certain that excessive dependence on imported fossil fuel will reduce and nations like The Gambia that depend on imported fossil fuels for more than 95% of her modern energy services, would have their economies and foreign reserves breathe a sigh of relief and their economies register a lot more developments.

Therefore, it is vital to note that developing and utilizing renewable energy needs huge financial resources that go beyond the reach of most individual nations, especially in West Africa.

Let’s integrate, pool resources together and invest in critical sectors of our economies for rapid national development. It is possible.

“The future is green energy, sustainability renewable energy.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger