Namibia urged to embrace renewable energy
Windhoek – Namibia needs to focus on increasing its electricity generation capacity by adopting more secure, sustainable and environmentally friendly renewable forms of energy in order meet future energy demands, an academic has said.
Oliver Ruppel, a professor of law at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, said access to, and efficient utilisation of adequate, affordable, clean, safe, reliable, secure and sustainable energy services is one of the major developmental challenges facing most African countries in the 21st century.
He was speaking at the launch of a book that details security and energy issues in Africa by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, titled: ‘Perspectives on Energy Security and Renewable energies in Sub-Sahara Africa’.
He said Namibia has abundant renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, biomass from which electricity can be generated.
Benguela currency in the Atlantic Ocean also provides excellent opportunities to harness the kinematic energy of the water and convert it to energy that could electrify the whole country.
But the majority of the population still relies on firewood and does not have access to modern energy, Ruppel who co-authored the publication said.
At present, an estimated two-thirds of the population has no access to electricity.
“The dependency on foreign energy imports, in combination with insufficient energy supplies, will inevitably and primarily affect the poor and the employment sector. The more the energy price increase, the high the unemployment rate which is already alarming in most of the southern Africa countries,” Ruppel said.
He urged the private sector to meet the government halfway in order to provide modern energy technologies and add value to its raw materials in order to benefit locals.
He said increasing access to energy has the potential to improve people’s lives and expanding economic opportunities.
Ruppel singled out the absence of appropriated policy and regulatory regimes that support renewable energy and high upfront capital cost of many resources, particularly renewable resources as barriers to the development of energy.
Currently the government is being guided by White Paper on Energy Policy of 1998, whereby Namibia set targets to ensure an adequate and affordable energy supply in a sustainable manner.
Security of supply is also among the targets set by the country and through this target Namibia has pledged to secure a sufficient and reliable supply of sustainable energy to the growing needs.
The 16 year Energy Policy points out government commitment to redressing inequalities in the provision of energy and ensure that households have access to affordable energy.
Namibia is also committed to increasing energy supply and utilisation competitively and economically efficient.
The goal set by the White Paper on Energy Security that 100 percent of the peak demand and at least 75 percent of the electric energy demand should be supplied from internal sources by 2010 has not yet been achieved.