Electricity a basic necessity – Kandjoze

The Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze, says electricity is a basic necessity that every Namibian should have access to.

Kandjoze, who was speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony for the constructiion of a five-megawatt solar plant at Rosh Pinah on Tuesday, indicated that unlike in the past electricity has become a basic need that should be accessible to all Namibians.

He said energy is of strategic importance to all aspects of the economy, and when citizens are without electricity they are excluded from actively participating in national economic development activities.

Electricity is no longer just a luxury for the few who can afford it, it's very much a basic right, much like water these days.

He further said the mines and energy ministry recognises that a national shortage of electricity will have a very profound and lasting negative impact on Namibia, as investment will become risky, while job creation will be affected, and therefore affect the livelihoods of many.

This, he said, is why it's important that government, together with all its partners in the energy sector, should do its best to ensure people have access to electricity.

He pointed out that the increased number of independent power producers (IPP) is a sign that the country is on the right track to make electricity accessible to all Namibians.

He added that the ministry will continue to strive towards ensuring that power generation projects are implemented to assist with the realisation of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) and other national development programmes such as Vision 2030.

He however pointed out that teamwork by different stakeholders is important if these targets are to be achieved, saying the goals can only be realised with a combined effort.

The five-megawatt solar plant at Rosh Pinah is representative of the strong partnership that exists between the government and private sector, so this project is one of the measures that are being put in place to ensure an increased supply of electricity and to address lack of self-sufficiency.

In a speech read on his behalf, NamPower's managing director Kahenge Simson Haulofu said the occasion is a clear testimony that Namibia should embrace, and encourage investments in, the renewable energy sector.

He said it's a well-known fact that Namibia remains fully dependent on imports and that more than 50 percent of the country's annual electricity requirements are imported from neighbouring countries.

He noted IPPs are important partners in ensuring that Namibia's electricity needs are satisfied.

He said the primary goal of NamPower and government, as stipulated in the HPP, is to increase local generation and reduce dependency on imports, noting that if all IPPs commission their respective power plants on time, NamPower would be providng about 70 percent of the country's energy requirements by 2018.

It's our role as a utility and supplier to meet these targets and make sure that the country does not experience load shedding, he said.

The power plant is expected to produce enough electricity to power about 3 400 homes, while about 60 jobs are expected to be created over the four-month construction period.

Namibian-owned Aloe Energy Investment and their partner the Spain-based AEE Power are to invest N$120 million into the project, expected to be up and running by June this year.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia