Will renewable energy surge hurt East Africa's oil excitement?

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Adnan Amin , Director General , International Renweble Energy Agency Wambi Michael

Adnan Amin , Director General , International Renweble Energy Agency Login to license this image from 1$.

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Adnan Z. Amin, the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) told a media dialogue at the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru that renewable energy technology costs have in the past six years been declining at the time when fossil fuel extraction costs rise.

Uganda and its neighbors in the East African region may not reap much in Uganda's oil discovery, analysts have warned. They instead argue that advancement in technologies for harnessing renewable energies like solar, geothermal, wind and others may make fossil fuel-based power generation less attractive.

The analysts agree that the falling price of crude oil may delay some of the investments in the renewable energy but will not last on given that more private investments are now being directed to renewable energy.

Adnan Z. Amin, the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) told a media dialogue at the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru that  renewable energy  technology costs have in the past six years been  declining at the time when fossil fuel extraction costs rise.

He says it is unlikely that the new, superior technologies will compete with the inferior technologies being used in the extractive industry.

Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have discovered oil and gas in recent years. But Adnan Amin says the three countries would require much more to extract oil compared to the cost of tapping into their huge renewable energy potential.

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This comes as Uganda's oil reserves go up with an anticipated 3.5 billion barrels following recent appraisals of 14 oil wells done by the three oil companies involved in the country's oil sector.

In the region, Kenya and Ethiopia are already using renewable energy especially in geothermal. Ethiopian plans to generate up to 800 megawatts of power from geothermal alone.

Adnan says even big oil producing countries like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are taking a big step by tapping into renewable energy. Saudi Arabia according to Amin wants to generate more than 17 gigawatts of operational solar power and six gigawatts of clean energy from wind, geothermal and waste-to-energy by 2020.

Ruth Davis, an analyst with Greenpeace, an anti-fossil fuel lobby group based in United Kingdom in an interview says much as oil prices tend to be volatile, it is unlikely that they will beat the ever improving technologies now attracting more investors to renewable energy.  

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Renewable Energies are now being promoted under the UN Climate Convention as clean energy solutions with less or limited carbon emissions compared to coal and other fossil fuels. 

 

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