Renewable Energy Initiative Kicks Off in Africa

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), a new global initiative launched at last year’s World Summit on Sustainable Development, began a four month series of consultative meetings with its partners this week in Nairobi to facilitate the integration of renewable energy technologies throughout the world.

Gigiri, Nairobi – June 10, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] REEEP, whose development phase is being sponsored by the UK Government, aims to provide an open and flexible framework within which partners can take joint actions to promote the uptake of sustainable energy. “The Partnership will focus on the state-of-the-art policies for power sector reform and build on best regulatory practice to promote distributed energy systems”, said Bill Rammell, Foreign Office Minister responsible for environment policy, ahead of the Nairobi meeting. “It will also focus on innovative new financing mechanisms that will work to increase investment in renewable and energy efficiency systems.” Between now and September this year, the REEEP Secretariat, which is currently based in the UK, is convening a series of high level regional consultation meetings with partners in East, West and Southern Africa, South and South East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, North America, Latin America and China. “The meetings will bring together key regional players, including policy-makers, businesses and representatives of civil society, discussion will focus on identifying priority objectives of the REEEP for the region and agree areas for joint actions that will promote local, national and regional sustainable energy markets.” The Nairobi-based African Energy Policy Research Network (AFREPEN) is the REEEP’s representative in East Africa. It will host the two day REEEP meeting in Nairobi’s UN Complex. Government officials, representatives of electricity utilities, electricity regulatory agencies, NGOs, the private sector, and financing organizations, from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mauritius, will focus on proven renewable energy and efficiency technologies and policies which deliver jobs and clean energy at low cost. “The REEEP will give access to as broad a range of experiences as possible so that energy policy makers can see that low risk sustainable energy solutions are available”, said AFREPEN director, Stephen Karekezi. “In Eastern Africa, we aim to increase the uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency by stressing their economic benefits such as job creation, lower energy costs and import bills.” According Mr. Karekezi, one of the principal objectives of the meeting is to establish a REEEP network of sustainable energy regulators who can work together to increase the uptake of renewable or energy efficient systems (REES) in the region. He said the best energy technologies for East Africa included co-generation, geothermal energy, solar water heaters and energy efficiency systems. “We are keen to establish a network of ‘green’ or sustainable energy regulators,” he said. “Establishing the network will encourage them to address sustainable energy issues”. His comments echo those of Kenya’s Energy minister, Ochillo Ayacko, who at a recent conference on geothermal energy said that “unlike oil-based power generation technologies, renewable sources of energy, such as geothermal, are stable, environmentally friendly and cheaper in the long run.”
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