The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has finalized the process of selecting a member state to host its regional centre for the promotion of renewable energies. The name of the host country is expected to be announced during the next meeting of SADC Energy Ministers to hold in South Africa by May.
Already, four bids have been received from Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe to host the Center; these were properly evaluated in February.
Dubbed the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), the hub is expected to increase the adoption of clean energy in southern Africa with a view to addressing its energy challenges. The Centre would also promote market-based uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and services in the SADC Member States.
For the first three years of its existence, SACREEE would receive financial support from its partnering institutions including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Austrian Development Agency, after which it plans to be self-sustaining.
Following the selection of a host country, establishment of the SACREEE Secretariat and inauguration of the Executive Board and Technical Committees, the first operational phase will kick into gear for three years, during which the Center will focus on developing renewable energy programmes for the region. The next three years will focus on ensuring the sustainability of the center after the exit of its partnering institutions.
The Southern African region has an abundance of energy sources, particularly renewable energy, which can be leveraged to significantly boost power generation. To achieve its central objective, SACREEE would promote knowledge sharing and provide technical advice in the areas of policy and regulation, technology cooperation, capacity development, and investment promotion.
By Emmanuel Iruobe