MOGADISHU, April 29 (Xinhua) — The UN top envoy in Somalia has called for more investment in Somalia’s renewable energy sources.
Michael Keating, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, appealed to investors to support development of renewable energy sources as he highlighted the challenges and potential of Somalia’s energy sector.
“Somalia has a population that is growing and urbanizing very fast. Unfortunately, the environment has been very badly damaged through conflict and unregulated exploitation of forests and pasture lands,” Keating said in a statement issued on Sunday.
The UN envoy made the call late on Saturday during a visit to the Enee thermal power-generating plant in the capital, Mogadishu.
“Using fossil fuels is very bad in terms of protecting the natural environment upon which so many depend,” he added at the plant, which is owned by the Beco Power Generating Company, one of the country’s leading electricity utilities.
Keating said investing in renewable energy sources and trying to bring the cost of energy down in ways that are good for the consumer can protect the environment and bring communities together.
The Horn of Africa nation’s energy sector has been devastated by many years of armed conflict, forcing residents to use non-renewable sources of energy that pollute the environment.
According to the UN, Somalia has one of the African continent’s most expensive electricity rates, with a kilowatt of electricity in Mogadishu costing as much as 1 U.S. dollars an hour owing to its reliance on imported fossil fuels.
The Beco Company’s Chief Technical Officer Mohamud Farah Ali his company has set itself the goals of boosting its solar power generation capacity by 5.5 megawatts annually and eventually reducing the amount of power generated by fossil fuels to less than 40 percent of the company’s total production.
“Sustainable energy is the key. In Somalia we have more than five hours (of sunshine), so we really need to invest in renewable energy,” Ali said. Beco which was founded in May 2014 and currently supplies 50 MW of power annually to consumers in Mogadishu and other five towns.
He said the company’s consumption of diesel fuel is reduced by 10,000 barrels for every 2.5 megawatts of energy generated by solar technology. The utility currently uses up to 17,000 barrels of diesel fuel per month to generate electricity.