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Occasional  Paper 1:AFREPREN/FWD Regional Policy Seminar on Renewables (Focus: Cogeneration Proceedings)

Edited by

Stephen Karekezi, John Kimani and Jennifer Wangeci


Executive Summary

Recent interest in renewable energy in Africa is driven by, among others, the following important developments.  The first is the recent increase in oil prices which, recently, peaked to US$ 33.16 per barrel (Economist: Jan 1998 – December 2000) at a time when Africa’s convertible currency earnings are very low due to poor world market prices and decreased volumes of its commodity exports.  Consequently, it is estimated that in the year 2000, petroleum imports as a percentage of export earnings has doubled from about 15-20% to 30-40% for a number of African countries.

The second important development that has increased interest in renewables in the region is the recurrent crises faced by most power utilities in the region.  For example, in year 2000 alone, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania have faced unprecedented power rationing which have adversely affected their economies.  The rapid development of renewables is often mentioned as an important response option for addressing the power problems faced by the region.

Two important global environment initiatives have also stimulated greater interest in renewables in Africa.  The first was the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.  At this Conference, an ambitious environment and development document entitled “Agenda 21” was reviewed by one of the largest gathering of Government Heads of States and, perhaps more importantly, was endorsed by a large number of multi-nationals companies.  Agenda 21 sought to operationalise the concept of sustainable development.  In addition, the Rio Conference provided the venue for the second important event, the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by 155 Governments (United Nations, 1992).  The Convention came into force in early 1994 after ratification by 50 States.

Renewables featured in both Agenda 21 and the Climate Change Convention (United Nations, 1992).  Because of the important role of fossil fuels in the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (it is estimated that the energy sector accounts for about half the global emissions of green-house gases) and concomitant climate change concerns, renewables are perceived to constitute an important option for mitigating and abating the emissions of greenhouse gases (Socolow, 1992).

In August 2000, AFREPREN/FWD conducted an Energy Training Course on Renewable Energy Technologies.  The presentation on Cogeneration in Mauritius generated significant interest.  Consequently, AFREPREN/FWD organised this Regional Policy Seminar on 6th – 8th October, 2000 with the principal aim of disseminating the lessons learned from the successful Mauritian cogeneration experience to a wider regional audience.

The objectives of the seminar were to:

  • Present key findings of AFREPREN/FWD’s research on renewables with special emphasis on cogeneration.

  • Propose appropriate policy instruments for the promotion of cogeneration in the region.

  • Explore opportunities for investment in cogeneration in the region.

This seminar brought together 21 participants (including three resource persons) from Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  These participants were drawn from various government ministries, utilities, universities, research institutes, NGOs, and the private sector.

The papers presented during the workshop were:

a)  Bagasse Cogeneration in Mauritius by Dr. Kassiap Deepchand

b)  Cogeneration in Zimbabwe by Ms. Elizabeth Muguti

c)  Cogeneration in Tanzania’s Forest/Wood Industry by Mr.James Ngeleja

In addition, the seminar addressed some of the factors that affect the promotion and dissemination of the cogeneration technology in Africa.  These include:

·    Institutional Development and Legal/Regulatory Framework

·    Financing and Economic Issues

·    Human Resource Development/Retention and Organisation and Management

·    Equity, Environment and Gender

Thereafter, the participants proposed proven policy options that would facilitate the promotion of cogeneration.

Chapter 1 of these proceedings provides the background and objectives of the meeting. It also includes a list of the participants who attended the seminar, their countries of origin and the institutional affiliation.  Chapters 2, 3 and 4 contain the papers that were presented at the seminar.  Chapter 5 highlights the discussion issues, highlighting points raised in the discussions, as well as the seminar conclusions and recommendations.

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