Wednesday, August 6, 2014

GAMBIA: GEF-UNIDO to promote investment in Renewable Energy for sustainable development

Edward Saja Sanneh Minister of Energy has said that the objective of Global Environment Facility –United Nations Industrial Development Organization (GEF/UNIDO) project is to develop and promote a market environment that would stimulate investment in renewable energy based mini-grids for productive uses in the rural areas of The Gambia.
"It is salient to mention that no government can single-handedly finance and manage the whole energy sector without the direct involvement of the other key stakeholders, particularly the private sector," said the energy minister.
Minister Sanneh was speaking recently at a ceremony of a five-day training of trainers on renewable energy expert held at Gambia Technical Training Institute premises organized by Global Environment Facility –United Nations Industrial Development Organization (GEF/UNIDO) 4 project in The Gambia.
According to him, Ministry of Energy is working closely with relevant stakeholders to review the list of renewable energy components that would benefit from zero tax on importation.

"My ministry strongly believes that when all these incentives are available to the project developers it would ease the financial burden on them and hence increase investment in renewable energy in The Gambia," he said.
He said: the energy sector and in particular the renewable energy cannot develop sustainably without building the requisite capacities and skills to tackle the numerous challenges that this sector faces including proper design, installation and maintenance of the various renewable energy technologies.
Mr Alois P. Mhlanga GEF-UNIDO coordinator stated that the United Nations Industrial Development Organization recruits international consultant from the energy centre to conduct capacity need assessment on renewable energy training and renewable energy curriculum development for tertiary institutions in The Gambia. This he said led to the expert training of trainers on renewable energy targeting professional in field of science and technology.
Mrs Ndey Bakurin, executive director of National Environment Agency (NEA) who double as the chairperson of GEF/UNIDO project steering committee, said sustainable management of our environment and natural resources is the cornerstone for meaningful development, therefore a high priority area for our country.
The Government of The Gambia, in collaboration with GEF and UNIDO, is currently implementing this important project and one of the key components of the project is capacity building, which includes training of trainers.
Madam..............director general of Gambia Technical Training Institution said her institution and UNIDO are working closely and efforts are in place, adding that is a valuable opportunity for GTTI to host such an important training, while welcoming all and sundry especially our friends from Ghana to be part of the programme.

Mr. Sompo Ceesay  the local Renewable Energy Expert who gave an overview of Renewable Energy in The Gambia where he talks about its historical perspective, evolution of different government policies , the Renewable Energy master plan, legal and regulatory framework, recent project intervention areas and challenges.

According to Mr. Ceesay between 1980 – 2000s Renewable Energy solar used mostly for water pumping for rural dwellers, although solar PV was very expensive ($7/W) and solar thermal was not only expensive but bulky too. Wind energy was initially used for water pumping for irrigation.

Mr. Dodou Gaye GEF-UNIDO project manager that, Gambia has limited expertise in Renewable Energy (RE) thus the need to build its RE capacity has also been accepted and mapped out to be achieved through the establishment of RE courses in the tertiary institutions both public and private institutions.

The importance of upgrading the knowledge of the regulators for educational and practicing entities cannot be over emphasized. This as a result GEF-UNIDO project entitled “Promoting Renewable Energy Based Mini Grids for Productive Uses in Rural Areas in The Gambia” encapsulates training of trainers to be able to both develop curricula for integration into existing tertiary and secondary schools in the Gambia.

He said: For the sustainability purpose manuals were developed as a training tool kits to be used where necessary and utilize some selected demonstration sites during the training of local experts in The Gambia.

The first forum titled “Train-the-Trainers” was carried out in four thematic areas namely solar PV, Wind Energy, Solar Thermal and Renewable Energy Training Software’s (HOMER) resulting from the training needs assessment which had been carried out in the past; led by four experts from Ghana Energy Center with requisite track record and experience in executing similar activities in other countries.

Dr. Emmanuel Wendsongre RAMDE Acting Sectional Head, Thermo-fluids and Energy System department of Mechanical Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi dwelt on solar thermal technologies under solar resource and climatic data.

Under this chapter highlight fundamentals of solar radiation; in which more or less accurate assessment of solar resource always remains a challenge in many locations in the world.

To him, measurement of solar resource was focused on sunshine duration, with the appearance of modern solar technologies, accurate assessment of solar energy has become more and more important.

However, currently solar data can be obtained in meteorological agencies, in institutions promoting solar technologies as well as in research centres.

He went on to discussed the sun position and direction of beam radiation and later on low temperature solar thermal and low temperature solar collectors highlighting all the parameters ranging from unglazed solar collectors and glazed solar collectors amongst others.

One of the key issues participants were exposed to was the modelling and sizing of flat-plate sola collectors under which absorbing plate, fluid flow piping, glazing and insulation and their various functions as collectors.

Mr. Isaac Adjei Edwin said the single crystal silicon technology used in Siemens solar cells was not only the technology the method for fabricating solar photovoltaic devices.
The relationship of battery and module work together; thus the importance of understanding the difference between energy and power can be presented in the context of a photovoltaic system; because most photovoltaic system use batteries to store the energy converted by solar modules during a day into chemical energy for use during the night or stormy days.
According to him the battery acts as a reservoir of energy and mediates between the power that might be available at any moment from the solar modules and the power that the loads might want to draw at that instant.

Mr. Eric Osei Essandoh talked about wind turbine performance characteristics Wind turbine and wind mills are devices generally used to convert wind energy into useful work or another useful form of energy. This chapter focused on wind turbines describing the various types of wind turbines and explains some technical characteristics available.

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