Friday, September 24, 2010

Gambia Depends on Fossil Fuel and Fuel wood

AS Consequences Over Forest Cover Loss Devastating
VOL:1 ISSN:24 The Gambia relies heavily on fosil fuel and fuel wood to meet her energy demand for cooking, power generation, transportation and other necessities of society, the Deputy Minister of Petroleum has said.

Hon. Teneng M. Jaiteh was speaking on behalf of the Minister of Energy at the 3rd National Energy Show and Exhibition, held at GREC on December 17, 2009.

The event, which runs from the 17th-19th of this month is aimed at showcasing renewable and alternative energy technologies, energy efficient technologies and other information on how to use some of the devices, where to obtain them and to enable the general public first hand information on lowering energy consumption bills to save money.

The Deputy Minister noted that energy data has it that about 80 per cent of all the country’s energy needs are met from fuel wood, extracted from the forest. “This is already having devastating consequences on our forest cover contributing to deforestation, loss of biodiversity and soil fertility,” Hon. Jaiteh said.

According to her, the use of fuel leads to emission of greenhouse gases which had been considered a global concern. She also said that the second most widely used energy source is petroleum products, accounting to 16 per cent of the total energy consumption.

“This energy source is not only used in the transport sector, but for all our electricity production. Though there are high prospects for The Gambia to produce its own petroleum products in the future, all petroleum products currently consumed are imported (including butane gas or liquefied petroleum gas-LPG),” she said.

The Representative of the United Nation Development Programme, Dr. Almamy Camara stressed that Gambia’s current energy situation calls for deliberate and aggressive actions to cut down on the importation of petroleum products for electricity generation thereby saving the much needed foreign exchange earnings for other equally important sectors of the national economy.

However he noted that the Government of The Gambia has adopted various measures aimed at promoting the development and use of renewable sources of energy, such as solar energy for water pumping, lighting in rural homes, schools and health facilities.

He pointed out that the energy show and exhibition is therefore relevant for the fact that companies will have the opportunity to showcase their energy technologies and systems and maximize sales.

According to him, consumers will also have the opportunity to know the various offers on the market to help determine their energy needs by way of knowing uses, prices, sale terms etc. It also leads to wide spread application of available technologies and systems, thus leading to a reduction on the demand for petroleum products.

Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Mr. Modou A. Secka said the show and exhibition is in line with the policies that The Gambia Renewable Energy Centre (GREC) was established in the 1980s, to spearhead developments in these sub-sector activities.

He added that the Ministry of Energy was created in 2007 to facilitate the implementation of the policies of government in that sector. The main objective of establishing GREC under his Ministry is to conduct all forms of research, develop and promote alternative and renewable energy, and vigorously promote energy efficiency, and conservation through out the country.

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