Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Winds of climate change blow into Botswana

The wind industry enjoyed its second-best year ever in 2021, with almost 94 Geggawatts (GW) of capacity added globally despite a second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, Climate Action statement has revealed.

This is just 1.8 percent less than the year-over- year wind energy growth rate in 2020; a clear sign of the incredible resilience and upward trajectory of the global wind industry.

However, the statement elucidates; as the Global Wind Report 2022 from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) makes it clear, this growth needs to quadruple by the end of the decade if the world is to stay on the course for a 1.5 degrees Celsius and net zero by 2050.

“Global capacity increased by 93.6 GW to bring total cumulative wind power capacity to 837GW, which is year over year growth of 12 percent. While the world’s biggest markets, China and the US, installed less new onshore wind capacity last year -30.7 GW and 12.7 GW respectively- other regions enjoyed record years. Europe, Latin America and Africa and the Middle East, increased new onshore installations by 19, 27 and 120 percent respectively,” states the statement.

The chief executive officer (CEO) of GWEC, Ben Backwell said: “The wind industry continues to step up and deliver, but scaling up growth to the level required to reach Net Zero and achieve energy security will require new, more proactive approach to policy making around the world.

A glimpse into Botswana’s own climate change policy, about 12 months since its adoption in Parliament; under ‘Sustainable energy” it is underscored that to achieve sustainable energy and low carbon development in Botswana as a means of sustainable development, the policy will among others;” Facilitate investment and access to clean technologies such as solar energy and wind power for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes.”

Botswana’s windy season is the forthcoming winter, which has earned Molepolole village the name ‘Phua lerole’. Not much however can be said about utilization of wind power in the country.

A clean energy entrepreneur in Botswana, Simon Mahosi of Multi waste Water and Energy, said he does not know of any wind power tender awarded to any Botswana based company. He however indicated that he and his partners are thinking of piloting wind energy in Shoshong in the central district.

The Climate action statement hints that the impact of Covid-19 was clear, with a slowdown in project commissioning in markets like the US, India and Taiwan as examples. However auction activities in 2021 demonstrated that growing wind deployment was a key strategy for many countries. Auctioned capacity was up 153 percent in 2020, with 88GW awarded globally.

“Decisively addressing issues such as permitting and planning will unlock economic growth and create millions of jobs by letting investment flow, while allowing rapid progress on our climate goals. If we carry on with “business as usual’, however we will miss this unique window opportunity,” said Backwell.

He added that the events of the last year which have seen economies and consumers exposed to extreme fossil fuel volatility and high prices around the world are a symptom of a hesitant energy transition, while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exposed the implications of dependency on fossil fuel imports for energy security.

“The last 12 months should serve as a huge wakeup call that we need to move decisively forward and switch to 21st century energy systems based on renewables,” he said.

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