Submitted by Dr. Edwin Matlotse
2 years, 3 months ago
University of Botswana’s Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC) hosted a successful SOLTRAIN Conference at the University of Botswana (UB) Conference Centre in Gaborone in early February. The event included tours of solar thermal installations in the Gaborone.
The conference kicked off with an address by the UB VC, Prof. David Norris, welcoming participants from institutions and companies from Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. He expressed thanks to the SOLTRAIN community and assured the project sponsors that his institution would continue to support their efforts going forward.
In his address, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Honourable Tshekedi Khama, emphasized the reality of climate change and lauded the practical activities that the SOLTRAIN project espouses which go beyond policy. He acknowledged the positive impact that SOLTRAIN activities had in the SADC sub-region, and expressed his thanks.
Mr. Matthias Radosztics, from the Austrian Embassy, emphasised that climate change is on our doorstep and needs effort from everyone in order to mitigate its negative impacts. He commended the SOLTRAIN country partners for coming together at the event and for taking the opportunity to reflect on project outcomes as well as to share experiences and ideas on taking SOLTRAIN forward.
Mr. Werner Weiss of AEE-INTEC highlighted the cumulative contribution of SOLTRAIN to the COP21 agreement in terms of GHG emissions (please see below for a more detailed article on this). Further, Mr. Kudakwashe Ndhlukula of SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) also thanked the project sponsors and outlined ways in which the country partners might sustain efforts when the project draws to a close.
Other notable contributions included Mr. Nico Snyders, from Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, sharing Namibia’s solar water heating experiences with their national housing programme which is assisted by up to 50% grants from the SOLTRAIN project. Ms. Karin Kritzinger of Stellenbosch University spoke the SOLTRAIN student bursary scheme and Mr. Ivan Yaholnitsky (BBCDC) and Mrs. Helvi Ileka (NEI), provided their perspectives relating to their institutions’ co-operation on their solar baking project.
Another highlight of the conference was delivered by the Director of Energy and Environment Partnership for Southern and East Africa (EEP), Mr. Wim Jonker Klunne, who provided an outline of EEP’s funding relating to the participating countries’ roadmaps and their respective implementation.