SWAKOPMUND - The Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, says the provision of electricity should be a priority, while at the same time ensuring electricity is available on demand and affordable.
He says this must be done without compromising economic development.
Alweendo was speaking at the one-day Electricity Supply Industry forum that took place yesterday in Swakopmund. The forum was attended by NamPower, the Electricity Control Board (ECB) as well as various electricity distributors in the country.
The aim of the forum is to create a platform for key players in the electricity industry, government and other key stakeholders to engage on the significant opportunities, trends and challenges facing the industry in Namibia.
Alweendo, who placed much emphasis on the availability and affordability of electricity, told the industry stakeholders that in order for a sustainable energy future, they will need to draw on new and innovative methods of electricity generation.
“The aspect of sustainability is close to my heart because simply stated, our future depends on it. No sector will continue to be relevant and deliver the much needed services to the public that are necessary to fuel our development, if it does not carry out its functions in a sustainable manner,” Alweendo said.
For the electricity sector in particular, he says a sustainable future must be a priority as energy is the lifeblood of modern society. According to Alweendo, energy not only powers the economy, but also households, schools, hospitals and agriculture, to name but a few.
“Hence we will need to draw on new and innovative methods of power production. Electricity is one of a few strategic resources, without which development in our modern age will be severely hampered. It plays a vital role in the development of our country. Urbanisation will continue to increase for as long as our rural areas remain unelectrified, in part because employment opportunities generally follow electrification, and electricity enhances productivity in all sectors,” he stated.
He added there are certainly other drivers of development, including the level of education, skills and commitment of the labour force; strong financial institutions to support capital investment; modernised agriculture; hard infrastructure and so on.
However, electricity at some levels still acts as the necessary catalyst for these other factors.
“And without sufficient electricity, sustainability in other sectors can be negatively affected as well,” he said.