May 24 2024 0Comment

Seminar on Fostering Energy Security through Enhanced Collaboration and Accountability in Lesotho, 23 April 2024, Lancers Inn, Maseru

The ENR-Demos team from the National University of Lesotho, organised the 23 April 2024 in Maseru, a seminar to address the issue of energy security in Lesotho.

Energy security requires citizens to enjoy the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price[1]. It is not limited to ensuring citizens can afford energy without being concerned about the long-term prospects of investments in energy supply for economic development and environmental protection.

The government of Lesotho has been at the forefront of promoting inclusiveness by embracing efforts to promote access to energy across the country[2]. The Lesotho Electric Company (LEC), a key player in the energy sector, has played a significant role in ensuring access to electricity.

The Rural Electrification Unit (REU) has been instrumental in extending electricity to rural areas, contributing to the government’s inclusiveness efforts.

The Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA), on the other hand, has been promoting energy affordability through its initiatives.

Equally, the Department of Energy has also contributed to the country’s energy mix diversification. These collective efforts are all geared towards attaining energy security.

Energy security is linked to sustainability. The latter requires embracing a wider form of clean energy beyond the hydropower that Lesotho has installed. While the country has recently integrated solar mini-grids into the energy mix, the approach seems to conflate the goal with other considerations, which conflict with transition readiness demands. Transition preparedness requires more focus on regulatory and financial environments.

The government of Lesotho needs to strengthen its efforts to promote energy security by balancing the three imperatives of the energy triangle- equity, security and sustainability. Equity refers to fair distribution of energy resources, security ensures uninterrupted supply, and sustainability focuses on long-term viability[3]. The current configurations need to be fixed to ensure energy security. The pricing of electricity, the revenue of the LEC, and its management if not carefully designed can be opposed to attaining energy security[4]. While energy security puts the citizens first and makes energy affordability its core focus, price is not the single determinant of security since long-term sustainability is also an essential ingredient of security. The country’s overreliance on imported electricity seems unsustainable and renders the country’s energy security fragile[5]. The decline in power generation capacity compounds this fragility[6].

The current energy management configuration and development, which includes expenditure patterns, accountability, pricing and profitability, threaten equity. Covid-19 significantly contributed to energy poverty and stalled energy access. Other sectors, including fuel prices and geopolitics, have adversely affected Basotho’s purchasing power and electricity consumption.

The Seminar aimed to attain its objective by fostering collaboration and accountability among key energy stakeholders. The platform identified the threats to energy security and also provided an opportunity for stakeholders to find a balanced position for attaining energy sustainability. It also served as an initiative to clear any misconception and misunderstanding among energy stakeholders, offering a hopeful path towards a more secure energy future for Lesotho.

Author: Dr Moeketsi Kali









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