Held at the Ocean Bay Red Croc Hotel in Bakau, the round-table conference brought together participants from all walks of life including government officials and members of the private sector.
The forum, geared towards increasing and strengthening renewable energy supply in the nation, discussed relevant issues about renewable energy (RE) such as the GEF/UNIDO 4 Project, overview and future of RE in The Gambia, benefits and opportunities in RE for GSM companies, benefits and opportunities in RE for hotels, financing windows for RE in The Gambia, and options for various sectors in The Gambia.
In his opening remarks on the occasion, Energy Minister Dr Edward Sarja Sanneh said energy as the engine of growth has propelled many of the leading world economies into wealth and prosperity, while some developing nations such as The Gambia are still facing challenges of energy availability, sufficiency and liability.
Minister Sanneh said no government can single-handedly finance and manage the whole energy sector without the involvement of other relevant stakeholders, particularly the private sector.
The Gambia government through the Ministry of Energy continues to create the enabling environment for private sector involvement in the energy sector, particularly the renewable energy sub-sector through the provision of some incentives, the Minister said.
He added that his ministry is currently working with relevant stakeholders to review the list of renewable energy components which would attract zero tax on their importation.
The Gambia has huge potential and sufficient RE resources to enhance energy security, lower cost of energy and increase viability.
Put to proper use, Minister Sanneh noted, RE resources would also generate income and create employment for youth as well as enable the country to make substantial foreign exchange savings by using dependents on imported fuels and mitigate climate change.
The development of a Renewable Energy Act in 2013 and the ongoing work on tariffs are among the actions undertaken by government with the support of its partners to improve the investment climate of renewable energy sector in The Gambia.
The main objective of the Renewable Energy Act 2013 is to promote the use of RE resources to achieve greater energy self reliance, thus reduce exposure to fuel prices and demand burden, which is currently on NAWEC.
Other key provisions made in the Renewable Energy Act, according to the minister, include the establishment of the renewable energy fund, general incentives for renewable energy facilities, streamlining, and adequate training of installers of renewable energy equipment among others.
Since the Renewable Energy Act was passed in December 2013, he said, the ministry had continued to work with all relevant stakeholders to fulfill the condition stipulated in the act, which is out to ensure the right climate is always set to fulfill private participation in the sector.
– The Point