University of Botswana rang warning bells to the regional energy markets by announcing it is working on an alternative energy source study, which will be commercialised upon its completion, as it tries to alleviate the expected power shortage crisis in the sub-region in the next two years.
Speaking at the just ended International Association of Science and Technology for Development (IASTED), Shadrack Situmbeko said the university is working on a study which will provide cheaper and more affordable energy sources that will meet the demands of the people.
“We are working on a solar energy study which will be geared towards meeting both the domestic and commercial needs,” he said.
“Most of the rural areas are not connected to the national grid and the kind of resource (solar energy) is abundant in this part of the world.”
The move, which is the first ever attempt by UB in landmark industrial development, comes at a time when the global energy demands are expected to outstrip the supply matrix from 2010 up to 2020, as China and India embark on the acceleration of their industrialization programmeÔÇöthus putting pressure on the traditional energy sources.
Within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, pressure from the main source of energy in the region, which is mainly coal, is expected to be felt from 2008. However, Botswana, which is embarking on three major mining programmes, is expected to avoid the crisis. The crisis is expected to have a major impact on the region’s attempts to climb out of poverty as envisaged under the United Nation’s Millennium Goals plan.
The study, if successful, will get a boost from the regional economic power-house, South Africa, which is aggressively turning towards solar energy in its major, cities such as Cape Town, in a bid to minimize the impact of the envisaged energy shortage. Cape Town is aiming to up solar energy contribution to 10 percent of its total energy demand.