Experts Explore Energy Options

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK The majority of Namibia’s population do not have reliable energy supply even though the country has an abundant supply of renewable energy resources. The unreliable supply of electricity, says Ministry of Mines and Energy Permanent Secretary Joseph Ita, has also affected the expansion of the country’s industrial base because it cannot set up industries where there is lack of a reliable source of energy. Ita told stakeholders in the energy sector yesterday that although Namibia has a tremendous supply of potential solar energy, because of its high levels of solar radiation, hydropower potential as well as wind energy, these sources of energy remain untapped. Traditional fuels such as fuel wood and cow dung account for less than 20 percent in Namibia, while in other African countries, it accounts for 80 percent of energy consumption, said Ita. It also happens that Namibia, with a petroleum consumption of 65 percent, consumes more petroleum products compared to the average world consumption, which stands at 42 percent. In addition to this, Namibia has one of the highest per capita energy consumption rates in Africa. In the SADC region, according to the permanent secretary, Namibia’s consumption is third after South Africa and Zimbabwe. Ita was speaking at a two-day workshop on Renewable Energy Marketing and Advocacy, which was called to deliberate on approaches on what the most favourable way would be for the implementation of Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs). In view of the fact that Namibia is faced with diminishing sources of conventional energy, Ita said it was crucial for the country to find ways of providing energy service needs in different ways and not only rely on electricity. Research has shown that sustainable supply of energy remains a challenge despite the country being 24 years away from Vision 2030. If the country has to meet the goals of the vision, it will have to fast track the implementation of alternative energy supplies such as renewable energy technologies in order to make every Namibian access sustainable energy supply. The Namibian Renewable Energy Programme (NAM-REP), which is a project of MME, hosted the workshop. The programme aims at creating affordable access to sustainable energy services, accelerate market development for renewable energy technologies and thus protect the environment by reducing or removing institutional, information, human capacity, financial and technical awareness barriers to the demand for clean energy services in Namibia.