This article was last updated on May 28, 2022
By Jok P Mayom
JUBA, 10 March 2016 [Gurtong]: Solveig Andresen, Oil and Energy Counsellor at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Sudan told Gurtong that the move comes after the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) approached Norway for cooperation and access to funding and technology partners.
“The UNHCR Hybrid Solar Plant providing electricity to water pumps in Kaya Refugee Camp in Bunj was delivered and financed by Norway” said Andresen.
According to Andresen, the project is a good step in harnessing the environment in a positive way to serve the needs of refugees and South Sudanese alike.
The plant was funded by NOREPS through Innovation Norway in a joint contribution with Dadaab in Kenya focusing on sustainable energy solutions, and will provide return for investment within two years.
“There is a long-standing and strong collaboration and partnership between UNHCR and Norway. The Norwegian Emergency Response System (NOREPS) was established 20 years ago, as a partnership between the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Red Cross, major Norwegian NGOs and selected Norwegian suppliers of relief goods and services” explained the Counsellor.
The Norwegian Ambassador, Tone Tinnes, travelled to Maban with the UNHCR Representative and officials from the Norwegian Early Preparedness System (NOREPS) on February 24th to inaugurate the new hybrid solar energy plant.
The plant which will service nearly 24,000 refugees and their host community was installed at Kaya camp.
“It is mandated to strengthen and support the UN-system and other international organizations in humanitarian relief operations, through prepositioning of relief items and to stimulate innovation to enable smarter and more efficient aid” said Andresen.
Andresen added that the network is administered by Innovation Norway, which is a public entity under the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry.
“The Norwegian supplier, W. Giertsen, is traditionally known for its high quality hall systems and more recently for its innovative technology and energy solutions to meet the needs in humanitarian operations” Andresen added.
He noted that the NOREPS and UNHCR has proved the ability and will embrace new technology and innovations.
The Norwegian Embassy hopes this solar-based energy solution will serve as a pilot to prove the importance of renewable and clean energy solutions, and reduce the dependency on costly and damaging fossil fuel.
Solar is becoming an increasingly important part of humanitarian operations and here Norway has a role to play, both in delivering the needed equipment and in supporting more green initiatives in both in humanitarian and development work.