Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cameroon Urged to Harness Renewable Energy

Yaounde, Cameroon—Cameroon has experienced an unprecedented energy deficit since 1990’s, and fulfilling basic needs still remains a challenging issue. This, experts say is cause by the fact that the country depends mostly on non renewable sources of energy with less than one percent of its energy generated as electricity coming from renewable sources.
Renewables like wind and solar are cheap

With the insufficient energy supply, attention is increasingly being focused on renewable energy, especially solar, biogas and biomass to bridge the demand/supply shortfall.
“But then to do this, they need to put in place an adequate policy and a legal framework that will guide the promotion of this kind of activity”,  says Mr Forghab Patrick, a consultant with Global Village Cameroon, a non governmental organization that works to promote sustainable development and environmental protection.
An information seminar to educate lawmakers on the opportunities and challenges for the putting in place of a legal framework for the promotion of renewable energy resources took place at the national assembly recently.
Experts say apart from the ever increasing prices of fossil fuel-which is a non renewable source of energy, its effects are or could be disastrous not humans the planet as a whole and have thus advised that alternative sources should be encouraged and promoted.
 “These alternatives are those sources that are cheap, available and renewable. Here we are talking about solar energy, wind energy and micro hydro electric power and biomass”, Mr. Forghab said.
The expert thinks that rather than relay on cooking gas which is produced for example from SONARA (for the case of Cameroon), biogass which is produced from waste could be used.
Most countries in Asia and Latin America are investing a lot of money in the development of renewable energy, our expert revealed. But in Cameroon, less than one percent of energy generated as electricity comes from renewable sources.
Yet the grand north has abundant sunshine, the western highlands with a lot of wind that permits for the generation of wind turbines that can be a source of good energy; more reason why experts say Cameroon can move a little bit away from using energy from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
Experts say though fossil fuels may appear cheap now, it cost may be unbearable in the long run, considering the damage it would cause to the environment.
“Today if we are talking of global warming, climate change issues, it is all cause by the emission of green house gases generated from the traditional or conventional sources of energy”, says Mr Forghab Patrick.
The information session at the national assembly was co-organized by Global Village Cameroon and the Network of Parliamentarians for Sustainable Management of dense and humid Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (REPAR)
Household energy, indoor air pollution and health are some important issues to be addressed in Cameroon taking into consideration that many families depend on fuelwood for energy with adverse effects to their health, reproductive and productive life, particularly for children and women, experts say.
The International Energy Agency’s annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report for 2012, says according to current trends renewable energy sources will collectively overtake gas as the world's second-largest source of energy by the end of this decade.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi in Yaounde

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