Created about three years ago by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Namibia Energy Institute has made tremendous efforts in to support the development and dissemination of knowledge, skills and good practices towards a safer, more secure and sustainable energy system in Namibia.
NEI is housed at the Namibia University of Science and Technology and participates in the national energy agenda of the country as a stakeholder. Speaking to the Southern Times NEI Projects Officer Kondjeni Ntinda said Namibia has developed policies and is currently revising and updating the National Energy Policy which promotes alternative energy sources for the efficient roll out of power supply in the country.
“One of the policies that Namibia has embarked upon is the Renewable Energy Policy which sets out the parameters to making renewable energy as viable and reliable power source for household and industrial usage. The Namibia Independent Power Producer (IPP) Investment Market Framework under the coordination of the Electricity Control Board (ECB) deals with incorporating the private sector into the national energy supply industry.
The Namibia Power Corporation (NAMPOWER) is the state energy utility and has gone on massive power projects ranging from gas fired power station to mini grid renewable energy projects to make power readily available to Namibian citizens,” he said.
He added that engagement and cooperation with other SADC countries is paramount to Namibia maintaining a sustainable and guaranteed power supply in the future.
“Access to energy in SADC will always involve both local and regional players to meet energy demand. SADC currently trades within itself to supply power to its citizens. The SADC Protocol on Energy states that we must use energy to promote collective self-reliance among member states. Thus reliability of energy sources is a shared responsibility by encouraging member states to capacitate their energy projects for local usage, and where possible, for regional energy supply.
The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) is the regional energy trading platform for member states,” Kondjeni said.
He also added that NEI caries the responsibility to contribute to Namibia’s industrialization by linking energy research, technology, policy, and education to the needs of industry, and to national socio-economic development imperatives, initiatives and programmes.
“ The NEI’s mandate includes the establishment of four Centres, these being: (1) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CREEE); (2) Centre for Oil and Gas (COG); (3) Centre for Electricity Supply (CES); and (4) Centre for Nuclear Sciences (CNS),” said adding that, “Key challenges regarding energy generation is the harmonization of how generation capacity will find its way to the national grid. Given that Namibia has a vast geographical landscape, conventional grid connection will not always be an economically viable option.
Hence the drive to invest in renewable energy and more specifically the mini grid system is a far more appropriate strategy that is currently underway and producing notable results. NEI, as an energy stakeholder in the country, runs pilot mini grid operations in the country.”
According to Ntinda Namibia is on the right track to meeting sustainable energy supply which is vital for driving Industrialisation as enshrined in the key development agenda of the country.
“With all the energy related policies and projects that are in place and those that are set be in stream over the coming months, the roll out of alternative energy sources will have a positive impact on the country and SADC as a region.
It worth mentioning the appetite for energy investment in the country will also grow as the national energy demand requires public private partnerships to achieve set goals of energy access and security,” he said.