Friday, September 16, 2011

Congo dams on African "climate change" list

African Ministers to compile list of priority energy projects 
15th September 2011

African Energy Ministers are meeting in Johannesburg this week to draw up a list of priority sustainable energy projects, which would be taken to a bankable phase to access funding after global climate change negotiations in Durban.

The conference, which started on Thursday, would produce the 'Johannesburg declaration' on Friday, which would contain a list of priority renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Although not ready to disclose the final list, it was stated that the hydropower Inga project in the Democratic Republic of Congo would likely be one of the projects.

There were said to be about five projects from the Southern African Development Community region, and two from the East Africa Community, as well as a number of others.

The projects were not new, and most had already been costed, but the Ministers realised that it was important to have bankable projects to present to the committees which would be managing the funds that were likely to be available after the seventeenth Conference of the Parties in Durban.

The leaders stated that they kept hearing that there was funding available, but that the projects were not sufficiently planned and often struggled to reach the bankable phase.

South African Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said that Africa needed to benefit and find a strategic advantage by using the funding mechanisms available through the climate change regime, and other new schemes in the pipeline.

United Nations Industrial Development Organisation director-general Kandeh Yumkella said that it was important for leaders to focus on practical projects, so they could look at practical actions and set clear goals and targets at global climate negotiating forums.

"We cannot solve climate change without an energy revolution," said Yumkella, noting that some 70% of the world's global emissions were said to result from the power sector. However, he added that Africa could not develop without ensuring that all people had access to energy – thus the need to focus on providing sustainable energy.

World Bank sustainable development director for the Africa region Jamal Saghir estimated that Africa required an additional 30 GW of power to ensure that all citizens had access to this basic service.

"In addressing climate resilience, we need to develop renewable energy," said Saghir, adding that Africa could leapfrog the rest of the world and adopt the latest, most efficient renewable energy technologies.

Peters noted that only 42% of Africa's population had access to electricity, with the rate for sub-Saharan Africa as low as 31%.

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