By Wezi Tjaronda
As Namibia strives for energy efficiency (EE), it will have to encourage switching to energy-efficient vehicles and the use of bicycles and minibus and rail transportation.
The transportation sector accounts for two thirds of the total demand for refined petroleum products. The transport and agriculture, residential, built environment, trade and industry and energy supply services are the five sectors identified as critical for implementing an energy-efficient strategic action plan, which was produced by the Renewable Energy and energy Efficiency Capacity Building Project (REECAP) that ended on March 31.
The plan is a roadmap to implement energy efficiency initiatives for sustainable development in Namibia as set out in the white paper on Energy Policy of 1998.
According to the action plan, Namibia should implement measures that include developing energy-efficient labels for vehicles, encouraging research on natural and gas and fuel cells, upgrading infrastructure and promoting the use of railway transport in the transport and agriculture sector.
Coordinator of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Institute, Kudakwashe Ndhlukula, said the country should encourage switching of vehicles from petroleum products to liquified petroleum gas (LPG), which not only benefits the environment but also costs less. But, he said, these services should be available for people to use them. At present, LPG is available in Windhoek, Otavi, Tsumeb, Ondangwa and Oshakati at N$5.50 per litre.
Ndhlukula said Namibia should also encourage cycling by offering incentives for producing bicycles for people to use as an alternative means of transportation.
Although Windhoek does not have infrastructure for cyclists, a non-governmental organisation, Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) Namibia, said it would work with the City of Windhoek on a pilot project to implement cycling infrastructure in the city.
According to BEN Namibia’s website, the organisation has financial support for its advocacy work in the form of a planning grant from the United Nations Development Programme’s Global Environment Facility.
In the built environment, the use of lamps that use very little energy, energy-efficient stoves and solar water heaters should be promoted. The residential sector accounts for 50 percent of energy usage, with 242 watts used for water heating and 45 watts for lighting.
The plan also advocates for the review of building codes to focus on well-designed and managed buildings that can reduce electricity consumption by 60 to 80 percent.