Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Interviews

South Africa's tycoon to set up renewable energy institute in Gwanda

10 Dec 2019 at 07:13hrs | Views
Energy poverty is defined as the lack of adequate modern energy for the basic needs of cooking, warmth, lighting, and essential energy services for manufacturing, services, schools, health centres and income generation. By this definition alone it is safe to say that Southern Africa is deep in Energy Poverty.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), about two-thirds of Africa's population, equivalent to nearly 620 million people do not have access to electricity and almost 730 million depend on traditional solid biomass for basics such as cooking.

In sub-Saharan Africa alone, the household electrification rate in 2016 averaged 42 percent, while the population without electricity reached 591 million.

There is also a vast gap in electrification rates between rural and urban households. Access rate among rural households is about 22 percent, compared to 71 percent among urban households

Africa has the mammoth task of ending Energy Poverty. The Energy Poverty levels in Southern Africa are growing unabated. ESKOM introduced stage 6 Loadshedding something that has never occurred in the history of the Rainbow Nation. Zimbabwe faces a serious energy crisis, and the entire SADC region is wallowing deep in Energy Poverty.

Addressing energy poverty in Africa requires strong political will and sustained collective commitment from all well-meaning stakeholders including the private sector. Sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy access should be seen as a co-requisite to the fight against poverty and as an important part of the bundle of products needed to drive economic growth and inclusive development.

Matshela Koko is a man who is passionate about the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals in particular Goal 7 which seeks to : Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

The Former ESKOM CEO Engineer Matshela Koko is set to establish the Renewable Energy Institute of Southern Africa in Gwanda the capital of Matebeleland South. This institute is set to lay the foundation for the future of Africa's energy sector. The vision of an Energy Institute is within the spirit and letter of the SDG 7 targets which are :

To ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services by 2030

Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030

By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency

By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology

By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support

The Gwanda Renewable Energy institute is set to be a key driver in the fight against Energy Poverty in Southern Africa.

Matshela Koko by nature is a man who is passionate about eradicating Energy Poverty in Africa. He has the critical skills, networks and access to finance which are necessary in the fight against Energy Poverty in Africa.

Matshela Koko as CEO of ESKOM was responsible for overseeing a State-owned organization of over 40 000 employees, responsible for providing over 95% of electricity to South Africa and approximately 45% of the electricity used in the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

His 20 year career in Eskom began at an early age, where in 1996 (as a young graduate fresh
out of university), he joined the organization as an Engineer-in-Training, stationed at Duvha Power Station.

 A year later, he was appointed as a Systems Engineer, specializing in Hydrogen and Water Treatment Plants, he managed a multi-disciplinary team of engineers and Senior Engineers.

He was also accountable for the reliability, availability and efficiency of six boiler plant
units, each boiler having the Maximum Continuous Rating of 507kg/hr.

Matshela's dedication and commitment to excellence did not go unnoticed; his drive was fuelled not only by the critical role of Eskom in the development of the South African economy but also by the 2001 international recognition of Eskom as the global power company of the year.

The establishment of a Renewable energy institute is set to be a huge boost for the people of Gwanda as the institute will attract energy scholars and enthusiasts from across the SADC region and Africa at large.

Sources close to Engineer Koko revealed that the project was set to be funded by Matshela Koko in his personal capacity.

Source - Nicholas Ncube
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.