Chinese social philosopher Confucius once said “Future generation is the most important thing” We must put measures to safeguard and win the future for the next generation”. A country like Namibia has abundant renewable energy sources like solar, wind, wave and biomass, which could go a long way in addressing the more than 60 percent imports of the country’s energy needs from neighbouring countries. This is also in view of the fact that going forward, technologies like wind, solar hydro and biomass will be embraced by many nations as they become economically viable, both to countries and individuals, who have already taken up the initiative. The availability of abundant uranium resources in the country is an opportunity still going to waste, if we do not implement and enforce that this raw product be value added locally and utilised for national benefit before it is sold out and later bought back as various other products at enormously high prices. Such an initiative could also assist in the generation of foreign currency, employment creation and some ease on the already strained budget. Such decisions should be made light of the gradual increasing in Namibia’s peak demand for electricity over the years; and this should serve as a wakeup call for the country to make serious necessary efforts towards off-grid generation facilities, of which renewable energy is a classic alternative for off-grid connectivity. As a nation we must strategically start looking at the impact our inability to produce a sizeable amount of power within our borders, on our already depleted budget against high cost of electricity import into the country, some of which is lost on the grid in transit to Namibia. The honours lies with the current government to push for local generation, and ensure IPPs are signed for the local power generation, which has become a global trend as most countries are moving towards renewable energy sources. Negotiations with the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) however, still face several snags mainly due to the requirement that NamPower or government should accept liabilities for any consequences that might arise out of force majeure events, i.e. natural and political, including any changes in law. I applaud the three negotiations that have been concluded, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) were signed with Greenam and Diaz Wind Power. Also, soon to come on board is a 37 MW solar energy plant by Alten Solar Power (Hardap Pty (Ltd), which tender was awarded at the beginning of 2017. This plant is expected to feed into the grid as from July 2018. However, it is unfortunate that the thermal project could not be realised, and it was agreed to end the negotiations. But we would like inclusivity to prevail in the negotiations of these deals as there lays several knowledge within our country that have ideas and means to bring renewable energy to the fore. With South Africa now pushing more towards renewable energy, Namibia should be weary of these high electricity import cost, as such developments across the border essentially means Namibia is partially financing the transformation in that country. This in the long run will mean that Namibia will be paying for these investments in South Africa, through the yearly average of around N$2 billion that we use to import power from our neighbours. Let us wake up Namibia and rise to the occasion, last year’s NamPower and Eskom 200MW five-year power purchase agreement should be the last investment we put on paper regarding power and start generating our own power for our own needs and redirect these resources to other equally important developmental projects in the country. I shall be moving a motion soon in the National Assembly to allow private individuals with renewable energy to sell access electricity into the grid as means to safeguard and improve capacity. * McHenry Venaany is leader of the official opposition, Popular Democratic Movement.
2018-06-29 09:54:54 2 months ago