Gambians rely heavily on fossil fuel and fuel wood to me et their energy demand for cooking, power generation, transportation and other n e cessities, the Deputy Minister of Petroleum, Mrs.Teneng M. Jaiteh, has said.
Speaking at the the third National Energy Show and Exhibition here on Sunday, Ja iteh said energy data had shown that about 80 per cent of the countryâ?s energy needs were met from fuel wood, extracted from the forest.
â?This is already having devastating consequences on our forest cover contribut ing to deforestation, loss of biodiversity and soil fertility,â? Jaiteh said.
The three-day energy show is aimed at showcasing renewable and alternative energ y technologies, energy efficient technologies and other information on how to us e some of the devices, where to obtain them and to give the general public first- h and information on lowering energy consumption bills to save money.
According to her, the use of fuel leads to emission of greenhouse gases which ha d been of a global concern.
She also said that the second most widely used energy source was petroleum produ cts, accounting for 16 per cent of the total energy consumption.
â?This energy source is not only used in the transport sector, but also for all our electricity production. Though there are high prospects for The Gambia to p r oduce its own petroleum products in the future, all petroleum products currently
consumed are imported (including butane gas or liquefied petroleum gas-LPG),â? s he said.
A representative of the United Nation Development Programme, Dr. Almamy Camara, stressed that Gambiaâ?s current energy situation called for deliberate and aggre ssive actions to cut down on the importation of petroleum products for electrici t y generation thereby saving the much-needed foreign exchange earnings for other e qually important sectors of the national economy.
However, he noted, that the Gambian Government had adopted various measures aime d at promoting the development and use of renewable sources of energy, such as s o lar energy for water pumps, lighting in rural homes, schools and health faciliti e s.
He pointed out that the show and exhibition were therefore relevant as companies would have the opportunity to showcase their energy technologies and systems an d maximize sales.
According to him, consumers will also have the opportunity to get used to the va rious offers in the market to help determine their energy needs.
It will also lead to a widespread application of available technologies and syst ems, therefore leading to a reduction on the demand for petroleum products.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Mr. Modou A . Secka, said the event was in line with official policies leading to the establ i shment of Gambia Renewable Energy Centre (GREC) in the 1980s, to spearhead relev a nt developments.
He added that the Ministry of Energy was created in 2007 to facilitate the imple mentation of the policies of government in that sector.