The Future is Renewable Energy – Invest in It!
PUG Executive Director Lynn McConville made it to The Gambia just in time to participate in the Renewable Energy Investment workshop hosted by the regional ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy projects and by the Gambia Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The participants, like PUG itself, have all worked long and hard to bring renewable energy projects to The Gambia. But we all agreed that the pace of progress has been too slow. The determination, but also the frustration of the various participants was very noticeable.
There were frank discussions among the workshop participants on some of the barriers to renewable energy development. The slow permitting process and the difficulty in finding investors for small and medium size renewable energy projects has been a major source of frustration for all of us in the renewable energy sector here in The Gambia.
Power Up Gambia has donated solar panels sitting in a shipping container, waiting for installation. This big (big for us) solar energy project will connect Sulayman Junkung Hospital to the national electric company NAWEC, and generate excess solar power that can be sold to the utility company below the cost of what they currently spend to generate electricity by polluting diesel and heavy fuel oil. But the long and very slow process for permitting and contracting has kept the solar panels sitting in their container for far too long!
PUG has decided to take a chance, and we are starting the project now under the assurances of NAWEC that they will finalize the contracts â€œsoonâ€. So hopefully within a month, those panels will be out of the dark of the shipping container, and will be in the field generating clean renewable energy for the hospital as they are meant to do!