UNIDO, the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Government of Sao Tomé e Príncipe agreed on the main pillars of a strategic programme, financed by the Global Environment Facility, to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in the country.
Américo d'Oliveira dos Ramos, Sao Tomé e Príncipe’s Minister of Finance, Commerce and Blue Economy, re-emphasised the urgent need to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels imports, which has a serious impact in the competitiveness and productivity of economic key sectors such as agro-processing, fishery and tourism.
Carlos Vila Nova, Minister of Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Environment, welcomed the partnership with UNIDO and ECREEE and noted that it will contribute to achieving the national target of 50 per cent renewable energy in the electricity sector by 2020.
The programme will facilitate the development of policies and legislation; offer capacity building trainings; promote investment for the revitalization of old hydro power stations and new renewable energy projects; and introduce minimum standards for the energy efficiency of appliances.
“Decades ago, the agro-industry of Sao Tomé e Príncipe was based on cost-effective small hydro power. Today, all productive sectors and private households are suffering from expensive diesel based electricity generation. It is time to go back to the future,” said Martin Lugmayr, UNIDO Sustainable Energy Expert.
Jansenio Delgado, ECREEE Senior Energy Expert, highlighted the example of Cape Verde – which will be reproduced in Sao Tomé e Príncipe – where “the integration of wind power and energy efficiency standards has led to major cost savings on various islands in the past years”.
The project will also promote knowledge exchange between the Portuguese speaking island states Cape Verde, Sao Tomé e Príncipe and Guinea-Bissau on innovative energy solutions for the fishery, agro and tourism sectors.
The activities of the programme will be closely coordinated with the World Bank and the African Development Bank.