ICENECDEV is Promoting better energy access and renewable energy development in Cameroon. The aim of the Access and Renewable Energy in Cameroon is to expand access to solar energy in unserved areas of Cameroon under a model of Solar energy access expansion that supports the implementation of the national decentralized framework.
The access to renewable energy will contribute and promote the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 7 and 13).
Africa Renewable Energy Initiative(AREI) aims towards implementation of 10GW of new and additional Renewable Energy generation capacity by 2020 and at least 300GW by 2030(AREI,2016a).
The African Continent and its population suffer from severe energy poverty.The international energy agency estimates that the total grid based power generation capacity in 2012 was only about 158GW,which is less than total installed capacity in Germany alone(IEA,2014:ISE,2016).
Consequently More than 622 million out of the 922 million people(about 70%) living in African do have access to energy(REN21,2015).
Although the African Continent has abundant Renewable Energy(RE) resources,the potential for the generation of clean and sustainable electricity has not been realized.
The traditional use of solid biomass,African electricity mix is still dominated by fossils fuels, especially oil,coal, and gas and as well as large hydro power plants instigate environmental challenges like pollution,climate change and lower the achievement of the 2030 agenda for sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).
The increasing impact and threats of fossil fuel (petroleum hydrocarbon) utilization to the environment is influencing an increasing desire for the emergence and establishment of renewable energy infrastructure across the globe today. Despite the profitable use and importance of petroleum hydrocarbon to every economic development, the desire to increase renewable energy access remain a strong driving force towards a greener economy, environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation, reduction of energy cost, enhance living standard, provide employment opportunities and also enhancing production performance of diverse economic sectors. Though the significance of renewable energy is widely known and greatly emerged and acceptable, with increasing access to this innovation in America, Asia and Europe; for instance, Germany is working towards an 80% supply of renewable energy to its economy. But renewable energy innovation and its access today, still remains a challenge to become established in Africa and Cameroon in particular. The lack of resources and strategies needed to build/establish renewable energy infrastructure is a limitation factor towards the access to renewable energy in most government and nations in Africa.
The rationale behind renewable energy concept is to create a sustainable future. The 2050 goal is to get all the energy needed from renewable energy sources. The transition from non-renewable energy consumption to a world of renewable energy consumption is cost-effective that is, providing energy that is affordable for all and producing in ways that can sustained the global economy and planet is challenging.
The rate of fossil fuel extraction and consumption is rapidly increasing from an increasing population growth and due to the non-replacement of the fossil fuel (oil, gas and coal) as it is extracted and consumed, it is bound to depletion (oil and gas is running out).
The lack of accessibility to reliable electricity is increasing and hindering the chances of most community persons from quality education and good living standards. Thus, this calls in for the rapid development of renewable energy infrastructures that can be a replacement or support the accessibility to a reliable electricity and energy supply globally.
The increasing in cost of fossil fuel extraction and production is a factor that calls in for the access to renewable energy. Extracting fossil fuel in deep water zones of the offshore and other unstable geographical location becomes difficult and dangerous, this become costly to both the business, communities and the economic when hazards do occur. Also producing unconventional fossil sources produce large quantities of greenhouse gasses and chemical pollution and render unsustainable demands on fresh water resources with severe impacts on biodiversity and the ecosystem services.
Cameroon as a developing nation also has visions towards the development of a greener economy through the establishment and access to renewable energy facilities and benefits. However, due to lack of clear renewable energy policy in the energy mix in Cameroon, indicates a critical subject that needs to be effectively addressed urgently by the Cameroonian government policy makers. The absence of this policy and lack of government commitment and eagerness is declining potential development of renewable energy by private sector investment and foreign investors, thus, limiting renewable energy access facilities to the Cameroonian society.
However, the design of efficient and clear renewable energy policy with strategic framework can influence private investment and foreign investor to establishment and create access to renewable energy facilities to the society. Therefore, this can become a backbone towards a greener economy, environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation and reduction of energy cost, enhancement of living standard, increase employment opportunities and also increasing production performance of diverse economic sectors of Cameroon.
Climate change with the rise of greenhouse gas emission from the massive consumption of non-renewable fossil fuels (natural gas, oil and coal) that provide huge quantity of the world's energy greatly negate the quality of the natural environment across the globe. Due to the increasing critics on the impact and future uncertainties of these energy, the renewable energy sources like; wind, hydroelectricity, solar photovoltaic (PV), biomass and geothermal energy sources are becoming increasingly attractive as substitutes to combat the existing and prevent the future challenges of non-renewable energy impacts. Though renewable energy is becoming a threat to the petroleum industry's existence, renewable energy access is highly significant towards a nation's sustainability.
Cameroon is built up naturally with enormous renewable energy potentials like solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and hydro energy resources. The solar, biomass and hydro resources are abundant almost across the nation while wind and geothermal energy resources are concentrated in some selected locations in Cameroon. These energy sources are highly significant to essentially increase the quality and abundance of energy facilities in Cameroon and its community.
Though renewable energy sources is oriented with shortcomings like high initial costs, inability to supply a stable base load electric demand (Giraldo et al., 2014; Hidayatullah et al., 2011), renewable energy are attractive due to low carbon impact, indefinite supply, price stability in the energy market and economic benefits. The enormous renewable energy potentials in Cameroon thus provide a clear indication and evidence to the access of renewable energy project, a necessity for the sustainability development.
The Cameroon government has greatly focused and dependent for several years on hydropower where about 94% of electricity come from hydropower. With this, the residential sector consumes about 70.63% of the total primary energy, the transport sector which are the major energy consumers in Cameroon consumes about 14.49%, the industrial sector consumes about 8.24% of total primary energy and the commercial sector consume about 8.2% of the total primary energy (Wirba et al., 2015). The non-renewable fossil fuel derivatives like LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), diesel and gasoline fuels are the major fuel options used in the residential and transport sectors of the economy.
Despite the dependency of Cameroon and its community on hydropower and fossil fuel, there still exist critical constraints and challenges of access to reliable energy supply and availability across the country most particularly its local communities. However, to increase the abundance, equal distribution and consistent supply of reliable energy to the Cameroonian community, the establishment and access to renewable energy infrastructure must become an apparent need to curb existing challenges at the local community levels and at the nation in general. Also access to renewable energy is an increasing need to curb the exposure of non-renewable energy impacts and negativities that hinder economic and environmental sustainability in the future.
ICENECDEV's Actions to promote access to Sustainable Energy in Cameroon
" Design and implement training and capacity building activities targeting councils government agencies, Civil Society organizations, participating municipalities, qualified service providers, selected households and public institutions, and other relevant stakeholders.
" Provide solar energy(Lighting) to households and social institutions (mainly schools) in rural areas and villages.
" Establish Sustainable Energy Network to support the access and clean energy sources and provision of support to Cameroon's strategies on energy access and clean energy