The German Agency for International Cooperation, in partnership with the Namibian and Botswana governments launched a Learning Energy Efficiency Network (LEEN) pilot project aimed at identifying suitable energy saving technical solutions at Kasane.
The initiative will also look at ways tourism establishments can reduce their carbon footprint.
The project, which will benefit 15 tourism businesses, was launched in Kasane, Botswana on Thursday.
The cost of the project is N$2,2 million.
Speaking at the launch was Kavango/Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (Kaza TFCA) secretariate executive director Nyambe Nyambe, who said the initiative is encouraging and welcomed, as it will provide an opportunity to pursue an agenda partner states firmly believe in.
He said it has previously been piloted within the context of sustainable lodges in Kaza.
“This opportunity will help to refine and improve on already existing measures to address your respective and common environmental challenges in your operations,” Nyambe said.
He added that attaining energy efficiency in electricity, heating, ventilation, cooking and fuels, and other areas, is globally recognized as a strategic thrust in combatting the impacts of climate change.
“We welcome this project which comes at an opportune time when there is so much talk about the global energy crisis and worsening climate change impacts,” he said.
He said the project will include energy audits by experts to provide participating tourism business enterprises with an understanding of their energy-use status and awareness about possible technologies and measures towards improved energy efficiency in their operations.
“We are grateful that the 15 establishments have met the criteria set out for this work and are about to embark on this 24-month project,” he said.
According to Nyambe, some of the areas that have room for improvement include sourcing of goods and services, and modes of transport that are being utilized, as well as addressing pollution risks associated with liquid and solid waste.
Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said that the LEEN project in the tourism sector seeks to identify the best energy efficiency measures.
“We are hopeful that some of the interventions will address the energy challenges faced by community-based organisations,” he said.
He added that these community-based organisations have limited capacities in terms of affording reliable infrastructure for energy production or simply the consumption cost.
According to Muyunda, communities have limited capacities in terms of knowledge to manage and maintain existing infrastructure.
“In addition, most of these communities are in remote areas and far from power supply grids, making it a costly exercise to electrify them,” he said.
He added that the ministry, through the network, hopes to collectively seek for investment in renewable energy such as solar for conservancies and other community-based institutions to enable them to effectively operate tourism enterprises to maximise benefits for their communities.
“Energy efficiency practices with enhanced capacity will significantly reduce consumption and production costs for these communities, enabling them to invest more in community development projects or diversification of their tourism offerings,” he said.
The Namibian environment ministry is involved because it regulates the tourism sector in the country and is a partner in the Kaza TFCA.
Source : TheNambian