12 December 2015, Addis Ababa – A panel discussion held via live stream broadcast from France on Power Africa Wednesday underscored the vitality of utilizing renewable resources, to power more than 80 per cent of the African Sub-Saharan population living in the dark.
The 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21), which is part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, emphasized on renewable energy development in Africa and exploring the opportunities and benefits while promoting women’s participation in the power sector.
The conference aimed at building a cleaner, more climate- resilient and inclusive power sector that serves all people including women, who play key decision making roles in the household but, have traditionally been sidelined from the energy industry.
Gene Lin, Senior Energy Advisor, Power Africa USAID/Ethiopia told The Ethiopian Herald that Power Africa is working in partnership with the Ethiopian government to meet the GTP that envisions becoming a regional renewable energy hub in east Africa. Currently, Power Africa is working on the untapped geothermal resources and significant wind and solar generation opportunities throughout the rift valley.
By 2037 Ethiopia aspires to have a total installed generation capacity of 37,000 MWs and become a major power exporter. And the efforts of the government in building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and other power projects shows its commitment in this regard, he added. He also said, “Private sector involvement will be critical to supporting this development vision.”
Wanjira Maathai, Project Leader, for the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies (WMI) said that 90 per cent of women in Kenya cook using kerosene or fire wood exposing themselves to health risks. Maathai, therefore, stressed on the need to create conducive atmosphere for women by introducing access to renewable energy source technologies at the grassroots level to make them beneficial.
Addis Ababa and Hope University students as well took part in the live video conference where they posed questions on how African governments are willing and ready to involve private sectors engagement in the expansion of these renewable energies.
*Fasica Berhane – The Ethiopia Herald