31 January 2018

Ethiopia: Scaling-Up Green Tech Utilization

Experts reveal that while the state of green technology implementation is encouraging, further attention is needed in its wide-ranging utilization to realize the country's vision of zero-net emission by 2030.

Technology Development, Transfer and Technical Support Directorate Director at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Amlaksera Tamene says that various works are done to encourage the use of green technology with up to 16 green tech pilot projects implemented in various parts of the country since the first GTP.

She adds that the Ministry works to identify green techs from research institutions, universities, private innovators, relevant technology suppliers, and create an enabling environment for the usage of green techs.

One green tech pilot initiative is 'livelihood improvement project', which is implemented in one woreda of Amhara, Gambella and Oromia states, according to her. As the agriculture sector emits half of the country's GHG emission, and given that it has the potential to abate up to 90 MtCO2e, the project focuses on the sector.

The initiative involves fattening small ruminant animal, in a bid to move from large ruminant animals to small ones like sheep and goats as the former have higher methane (CH4) emission, along with beekeeping and poultry.

She points out that in addition to generating 796 green jobs to unemployed local young people (of which 355 of them are women), the project has already paid some dividends to the locale that is being implemented at.

According to Amlaksera, there have been other green tech pilot projects that have been implemented in other prioritized sectors like energy, transport, industry and urban development in the shape of solar panel, various waste-to-energy project, and fuel-saving stove, among others.

She notes that the aim of green technology initiatives is to reduce GHG emission whilst economically benefiting the public. And in this regard, although assessment will be done in the future considering MRV (measuring, reporting and verification) system is being studied to be implemented in order to measure how much GHG emission is reduced. However, there are already some advantages that have been gained so far.

Explaining, the Director says there is significant reduction of GHG emission when large ruminant animals make way to smaller ones, while improvements have also been gained in terms of increasing agriculture productivity, also in terms of stopping forest cutting/clearing. "We are expecting significant change in terms of GHG reduction."

The industry sector is one of the entities that is implementing the country's green growth strategy to ensure sustainable industrial development.

Green technology from the perspective of industry sector, says Gebremichael Gebrekidan, Director of Climate Change and Industry Zone development with Ministry of Industry, is about ensuring the machines industries use do not pollute the environment by making sure they are efficient and use renewable energy source. "There are works underway to that end."

While the approach used to transform the existing industries that use traditional manufacturing methods into green industries is to improve their machines' efficiency.

The Director indicates that five large energy efficiency pilot projects have been studied and implemented in the five major manufacturing sub-sectors. And in terms of renewable energy, he cites sugar factories, where some of them have already started producing biomass energy from their byproducts to the point of supplying energy, surplus to their need, to electric corporation. "This is a show that green industrialization is being implemented."

According to him, industrial parks and clusters are instruments to implement renewable energy - one manifestation of green technology use - as they provide the bonus of providing waste disposal and/or recycling, and utility sharing in the form of renewable energy from one main source.

Furthermore, Gebremichael disclosed that study has already been conducted in 52 factories to serve as a baseline for measuring GHG emission in the industry sector, and will be scaled-up to all industrial sectors.

Both stress that while the commitment to implement green tech is encouraging, they believe the efforts should be further augmented in order for the impacts to be wide-ranging and for some of the gaps to be solved.

Gebremichael mentions capacity limitation in terms of finance and technical skill, and lack of awareness in regards to equating environmentally responsible practices with an added cost, especially in the private sector, as challenges that needs to be rectified.

"It will take time to persuade them, and every stakeholders involved given that the sector is relatively new and will need some getting used to." He also mentioned that the government should also look into putting a center that would overlook the environmental aspect, in the mold of the one-stop centers in the industrial parks.

Moreover, in a report presented by Ethiopian Academy of Science last year entitled 'Green Technology in Ethiopia', the Academy commends the government's use of green technology to curb down GHG emission, before suggesting adapting best practices, and picking up green growth philosophy is urgent.

It recommends for the government to intervene through encouraging and facilitating effective green technology transfer. The report also advises on introducing green technology-related courses in schools, increasing funding to facilitate and support research an studies whilst increasing awareness of farmers in relation to GT. "Increase research fund on green technology and related fields", the report affirmed.

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