August 31, 2018

Securing the Future through Renewable Energy

by Kesete Gebrehiwet | The availability of sustainable energy is determinant in ensuring an all-rounded development of a country. Infrastructural development is mainly dependent on the availability of abundant sources of energy. Renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind and thermal energy are dependable.

There is high potential of such sources of energy in Eritrea although they have not been exploited fully.

Generation of solar energy entirely depends on countries exposure to sun light and fortunately Eritrea is endowed not only with solar but all sorts of renewable energy.

Eritrea uses non-renewable energy sources for its electricity supply and this has been a bottle neck in the implementation of various development undertakings. Considering that solar energy reduces dependence on non-renewable energy, agro-industrial activities, water supply projects and other infrastructures will be implemented in accordance to the set out time frame provided that the supply of electricity is ensured through various sources of renewable energy.

The expansion of renewable energy to all parts of Eritrea will be an important step in the fight against climate change. So, besides the generation of electricity, renewable energy will make a difference in environmental protection.

E-Tech Eritrea has taken an initiative to install solar energy of 122 megawatts in different parts of Eritrea. The initiative so far taken is a good start and is expected to make a difference in the long run.

Considering that solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source and once a solar panel is installed, energy can be produced free of charge and the fact that it lasts forever with a very little maintenance cost to keep solar cells running, solar energy is Eritrea’s considerable assets that needs to be exploited to the maximum possible level.

 

E-Tech Eritrea was entirely engaged in assembling computers and other Information Technology (IT) related hard-ware from 2003 to 2016. E-Tech is now working in the installation of solar and wind energy.

E-Tech’s primary objective is to harness the country’s potential of alternative sources of energy to the maximum level. It is now generally taking part in the efforts that have been exerted to make a difference in the socio-economic activities of the country and particularly in the installation of renewable energy.

The initiative taken by E-Tech Eritrea in Gergera and Adi-Halo in the installation of solar energy is a commendable pilot project and will be extended to other parts of Eritrea.

Reports show that the surface of the earth receives 120,000 terawatts of solar radiation (sunlight) – 20,000 times more power than what is needed to supply the entire world.

Eritrea’s potential of solar energy is beyond imagination. Almost all parts of the country are suitable for the generation of solar energy.

As long as there is solar radiation, solar energy is sustainable and there is no way for over-consumption. It is with this natural asset that a number of development undertakings could be easily implemented without dependence on non-renewable sources of energy. Once the initial investment is made the overturn is highly profitable.

Ensuring supply of potable water, provision of healthcare and education facilities and environmental preservation are among the priorities of the country. E-Tech Eritrea is, therefore, playing a leading role in the implementation of a far sighted vision.

The Government of Eritrea has now given E-tech a mandate for the installation of renewable energy infrastructures. According to Maj. Aklilu Habtemariam, E-Tech’s Manager, E-tech has started to implement the setout solar energy projects in phases.

“The installation of solar energy in Gergera is just a continuation of activities we implemented in Adi- Hallo. The project here in Gergera has taken only three months. We have acquired substantial skill in the project implemented in Adi-Hallo in terms of efficiency and speed,” Maj. Aklilu said.

As regards the technological know-how of the youth who are taking part in the project, Maj. Aklilu said that the solar energy installation project has enabled a number of youth to acquire skills through hands on experience of the job. The youth are now the lead implementers of the project with a little assistance of an engineer. Members of the 28th to 30th round of national service are now taking part in the solar energy installation program. They are confident and have acquired efficiency in carrying out the tasks.

While speaking of the efficiency and speed in the implantation of the first and second solar energy projects Maj. Aklilu said “The first project was a little bit delayed as we were all new to such tasks. But, the second project was well organized and is progressing as planned. We have also completed 70% of leveling of site for another solar energy project.”

The installation of a total of 122 megawatts of solar energy in different parts of the country is expected to make a difference in supplying electricity to various projects of water pumping systems for potable water supply, health and education facilities and fisheries activities.

The primary objective of the project is to supply electricity to rural areas that have not yet been connected to the national grid. The off grid system will ensure supply of electricity to areas that have not been beneficiaries. “Residents in rural areas have the right to make use of electricity and we are trying to reach them through renewable energy to boost their socio-economic activities,” Maj. Aklilu elaborated.

A few people have participated in the Adi-Hallo project, but in the second project that is being carried out in Gergera a number of young people are taking part and, thus, playing an important role towards a speedy installation. The youth who are working in the solar energy program said that they are all working together in one site for the time being. But since they have now acquired the required skill they will be divided into four groups and assigned to different sites and this will speed up the implementation of the project.

Besides the technical know-how, the youth at the project have increased their knowledge of renewable energy and the impact it could make in various cultural and socio-economic activities of the country. They are very keen to be part of the project and that is why they are working with a strong passion.

Dejen Okbe, a participant in the solar panel installation activity, said “Dependence on non-renewable energy will be minimized. Since the human power has been doubled the project will be finalized as quickly as possible.”

Simon Mebrahtom is also participating in the solar energy installation program so far implemented in Gergera and Adi- Hallo. He is a graduate of Asmara Technical School in the field of General Electronics. He has been working in computer assembly, and he is now taking part in the installation of renewable energy. He said “I am working in the field I studied and am gradually upgrading my know-how through skill transfer.

Eng. Desale Meharzghi is a graduate in Electrical Engendering from Eritrea Institute of Technology. He has been providing technical assistance in the installation of solar panels. “The project in Adi-Hallo was our first experience. We have learnt a great deal from the project and the task is no more new for us and that is why we have implemented the second project with ease,” he said. “The human power is also redoubled now.”

E-Tech is now planning to implement similar projects in Adi- Keyih and Kerkebet. The experience so far gained will have a great impact towards the speedy implementation. The youth participants of the project reiterate that the more experience they gain the more they will make a difference.

All the participants of the solar panel installation project said “We are trying to make a difference through collective efforts.”

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