23 June 2014

Gambia: Third National Renewable Energy Dialogue Forum Wraps-Up

The two-day Gambia National Renewable Energy Dialogue Forum, with the theme Policy for Small Scale Renewable Energy Regulation last Thursday wrapped-up, at a local hotel in Kololi.

The third edition of the forum, which was organised by the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), in collaboration with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), brought together utility experts from USA, Kenya, ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency among others.

The forum's objectives, according to the organisers, are to assess the progress made on Renewable Energy (RE) Regulatory Framework, as well as promote national-level discussion on clean energy policy, including legal and regulatory frameworks, with particular focus on implementing the recently enacted RE law.

It is also meant to introduce The Gambia's first Feed-in Tariff (FiT) to the public, provide regulatory expertise in developing support schemes for renewable energy that promote investment, explore synergies between renewable energy and energy efficiency and energy conservation; and share international and regional best practices and lessons learned in clean energy regulation, especially the United States' experience.

In her closing remarks, the programme officer for NARUC, Larcus Pickett, thanked the US Agency for International Development and the US Embassy in The Gambia for their continuous support.

"It's no secret that implementation of renewable energy is a necessity to increasing access to electricity throughout The Gambia and contributing to economic growth within the country in all the regions," she added.The Gambia, she noted, is taking steps in implementing the policies that are needed to foster this development, such as the Renewable Energy law that includes the RE fund.

According to Pickett, great example of a huge step forward is the development of the draft licence framework with steps, roles and timelines, to streamline the licensing process. Although there are significant challenges ahead, she said, these national platforms provide an opportunity to strengthen communication between energy stakeholders and the implementation entities.

She informed the participants that there is a way forward and their engagement and ideas to address challenges have been and will continue to play an important role as The Gambia progresses in its RE development. As usual, she said, PURA has done tremendous job in co-hosting this forum, adding that NARUC has applauded them for their leadership in promoting renewable energy, thus their continuous stakeholder engagement and decision-making process for soliciting feedback on initiatives, such as the RE fund.

While giving "sincerest" thanks to those who came from far countries, she lauded them for gracing the occasion with their presence, in particular,Sara Kamins from California, Jay Griffin from Hawaii, Msafiri Mtepa from Tanzania and Hyacinth Alayo from Cape Verde, all of whom have shared their valuable knowledge on their experiences with the implementation of renewable energy polices. "We also appreciate all those that gave us case studies and provide us snapshot of their experiences with implementing renewable energy and we hope that we have all learned from these experiences and can pull from their lessons to create a pathway forward," she concluded.

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