//Karas has massive untapped solar potential

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Keetmanshoop

//Karas Governor Lucia Basson says if the region’s massive solar potential is harnessed and unlocked //Karas has the potential to supply electricity to the entire Namibia and could even produce surplus power for export to other countries.

Stressing the region’s richness in renewable energy, such as the wind and sun power, Basson indicated that instead of getting electricity from outside the region, //Karas has the potential to produce its own, which could also be sold to other regions.

Speaking at the opening of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung energy seminar at Keetmanshoop on Thursday, Basson stressed that the region has the potential to develop renewable energy sources, which she said are sustainable and affordable.

Basson said the region is one of the best areas to get power from the sun: “We have the opportunity now to use the power of the sun to empower ourselves and become active citizens in the sense that we produce the energy we need.”
She said renewable energy, such as solar and wind, is cheaper in the long run and further noted that having cheaper electricity would stimulate the region’s economy, as more investors would be drawn to the area due to cheap electricity, adding that electricity is an essential part of doing business.

“Energy is a basic necessity for any economic development. There is no sewing workshop, no restaurant and no factory that can work without electricity,” she said.

Keetmanshoop Deputy Mayor Hilia Titus highlighted the need for the region and the country to produce its own electricity. She said cheaper electricity would not only benefit the residents but would also contribute significantly to the economy if exported and reiterated that Namibia is over-reliant on imports from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and that there is a need for the country to move away from importing to exporting electricity, pointing out that this is entirely possible, given the abundant renewable energy sources available.

“Supporting the development of large-scale renewable energy is not just the right thing to do for Namibia, it is also the smart thing to do regarding climate change and the best way in which power crisis issues can be dealt with,” she said.

An expert in renewable energy, Harold Schutt, said there is great potential in the region and that its renewable energy sources have the potential to supply power to the whole country. This, he said, would benefit local residents economically.

The two-day seminar on energy alternatives ended on Friday.

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