Govt Urged to Take Urgent Action On Future Energy Supply

The government together with stakeholders in the energy sector should draft a law on renewable energy and energy efficiency as a matter of urgency. Net metering for domestic solar photovoltaic installations must also be made available across all electricity distribution and supply entities in the country, except if these do already offer a reasonable feed-in tariff for such systems, and appropriate legislation and regulations should be finalised expeditiously. Renewable energy feed-in tariffs (Refit) must as well be finalised and operationalised as a priority.

These were some of the suggestions made during the two-day conference on renewable energy that ended yesterday in Windhoek, organised by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics, Natural Resources and Public Administration. Concluding the deliberations the conference recommended that financial mechanisms should be introduced to allow all domestic residences to be fitted with a solar water heater, and that the viability and requirements of initiating local solar water heater assembly or manufacturing plants be assessed and included under the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s promotion of local value addition priorities.

Delegates agreed that national energy efficiency standards should be developed and that government take the lead in implementing them in all government institutions and public buildings.

The conference recommended that explicit national renewable energy targets as well as energy efficiency targets be put forward, focusing on the country’s transport sector, which is the single largest user of liquid fuels, and technologies requiring electricity for their operation.

The conference recommended that relevant criteria for the definition and measurement of the productive use of energy in general, and electricity in particular, be laid down, and that relevant activities and measures be formulated to reduce Namibia’s energy intensity and promote the uptake and focus on the productive use of sustainable energy and energy efficient technologies for the sustainable development of the country and that education for sustainable development be included in school curricula to emphasise the importance of sustainable energy for future generations.

The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics, Natural Resources and Public Administration, Ben Amathila, said unless deliberate decisions are taken, Namibia’s economy would be negatively affected by electricity shortages which will have major negative effects on investment, especially in the mining sector.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Amathila said: “As a country, we are currently faced by a huge challenge in our national electricity sector, ranging from increasing energy prices, the inability of the current installed generation capacity to meet the rising demand for electricity in the country and to top it all, our neighbouring countries on whom we rely for electricity supply will most likely not be able to supply us at all times.”

According to him, Namibia is said to be facing about an 100MW electricity deficit by 2015. The deficit will further rise to 300MW should there be no any investment in any energy generation infrastructure.

Amathila said Namibia depends mainly on the Ruacana hydro power plant for most of the country’s energy and the rest is imported from South Africa (Eskom), Zambia (Zesco) and Zimbabwe (Zesa), which is also faced with a crisis of meeting energy demand.

He added that Namibia spent about N$1 billion on importing electricity from South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Over 250 people including international and local experts on renewable energy sources attended the conference.

Source : New Era