January 22, 2018 By Joseph S. Margai
The Ministry of Energy (MOE) has last Friday (19 January) launched both the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policies at the British Council Auditorium on Tower Hill in Freetown.
Supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the policies provide space to avoid uninterrupted power supply, mainly with the integration of both off- grid and on-grid facilities.
Minister of Energy, Ambassador Engineer Henry Macauley, said the ability of the renewable energy in terms of having less cost effect and at the same time producing clean power supply to customers, cannot be over emphasised.
“The government of Sierra Leone recognises the fact that regular and stable energy supply is crucial for small and large-scale businesses, as well as private sector development,” he said.
Ambassador Macauley warned that customers should always put off their electrical appliances whenever they are going out of their homes, adding that by so doing lots of energy would be saved and those saved energy would be supplied to other customers.
He said most of Sierra Leone’s distribution networks have been in existence for over 45-50 years now but under the leadership of President Koroma, they have long begun to building new networks.
The energy minister said when the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party took office in 2007, there were seven megawatts electricity supply in Sierra Leone but they could now boast of over one hundred megawatts, which according to him, is a great achievement in the energy sector.
He noted that when there is no light, there will be no development and the cost of darkness is more expensive than electricity, noting that, “We need supply of power to empower people’s economic activities.”
“I have been hearing rumours that Sierra Leoneans are paying the highest tariff for electricity supply in the world. I want to make it clear today here that we are not even paying the highest in the sub-region. You can do your research and prove me right or wrong,” he said.
He encouraged customers to use electricity for business by setting up charging centres, cinemas, among others.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Zainab Buya-Kamara, said her ministry is poised to formulating policies that support the growth of energy sustainability in Sierra Leone.
“MOE is determined to roll out policies and programs that are supportive to the energy sector. I want to use this opportunity to thank the UNDP for their tremendous support to the ministry,” she said.
Sheikh Alhaji Yayah Sesay, a representative of the World Bank office in Sierra Leone, said the bank would always support government in addressing the high cost of electricity supply.
He said there was need to diversify the energy sector so as to achieve sustainable electricity supply in the country.
“US$40 million has been set aside for the energy sector including another US$59.7 million under the West African Power Pool Project (WAPP)to primarily promote renewable energy,” he said.
MOE’s Director, Engineer Benjamin Kamara, gave an overview of the policies where he unfolded the background, challenges, vision of the said policies