Renewable energy fund for SADC on the cards
31 July 2013
The Southern Times
Regions of Climate Action (R20) will next year hold a conference in South Africa to find existing funding gaps in renewable energy within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, an official said last week.
Founded by former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger three years ago, R20's mission is to help states, provinces, regions and other sub-national governments around the world develop, implement, and communicate low carbon and climate resilient economic development projects, policies and best practices.
To date R20 has implemented a number of projects worth over US$1 billion which include Utility Scale Solar Parks, Berkane in Morocco, Streetlight Retrofit, Reo de Janeiro in Brazil, Biosolids Conversion (sewage to diesel) Los Angeles, USA and Landfill Energy and Carbon Credit, Akouedo in Cote d'Ivoire.
R20 Eastern and Southern Africa liaison officer Elizabeth Vosloo said the conference was meant to identify the right policies and technologies for the region and secures project financing to make them a re ality.
"We are going to convene a conference in South Africa during the first quarter of next year most likely in March, engaging service providers, representatives of cities and towns, technical persons in the region and the African Development Bank," Vosloo said.
"In this conference we will get to know what are the funding requirements in terms of renewable energy by the region be it solar geysers, biogas, street lighting and hydro electricity power generation projects among others."
Vosloo said the organisation was targeting the SADC region for the first time. "Once a project is identified and approved, a Trust Fund, which includes locals, will be set up for its implementation.
"Upon completion the project will be handed over to an existing power utility, a city or town or a community to manage the project thereafter.
"These people will be trained on the best practice to ensure sustainability of the project and also to a have sense of ownership of the venture," she said.
She said R20 had US$100 billion to implement various projects globally. "Part of the money will be used to implement a number of renewable energy projects in SADC member states."
SADC is made of 15 countries which include Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. Through its members, partners and observers the R20's activities connect more than 560 sub-national and local governments around the world.
R20 is funded by the United Nations Development Program and other financiers. SADC countries are lagging behind in terms of electricity provisions to its people with regional electricity accessibility hovering around 35 percent. According to the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) t he region requires about $93 billion annually for all its citizens to have access to electricity by 2030.