Green schemes to switch to solar energy

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John Muyamba

Rundu-AgriBusDev managing director Petrus Uugwanga, who oversees the green scheme operations, says government green schemes will soon do away with NORED’s high energy tariffs, as they plan to install solar power at all irrigation projects.

The idea was first mooted by Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa, who directed AgriBusDev during a visit to the government-owned Shadi Irrigation Project in Mukwe Constituency in Kavango East in June last year.

When New Era asked what AgriBusDev has done since the minister first tasked them to undertake a study on the use of solar power, Uugwanga said they are gravitating towards the use of solar power at all green schemes and that a tender will soon be floated for the installation of solar panels.

“It was delayed due to some technical difficulties. We are required to do some stuff before we put it out there,” he said.

“AgriBusDev should do a study at all our green schemes and see what it is that we must do. I’m not saying that at once we can replace everything, but do a proper study at Kalimbeza, for example, [to determine] which part we can use solar and achieve what we want.

“At Shadi the same, at Shitemo the same and other irrigation projects, like Etunda, and so on,” Mutorwa had said during his visit to the area in June 2016.

“That study will then inform us that, yes, use NORED power for this, but for other things maybe solar can work. I mean we have taken this matter up with NORED several times and I don’t think we are going to succeed, because they are also just doing business, but when they see that these people can to a certain extent survive without them, then maybe they will do something about their cost,” Mutorwa said at the time.

He had also noted that the cost of electricity was excessively high and wanted government-owned irrigation projects to make better use of sun power to generate more electricity for use at various green scheme projects.
On July 19 the power was cut off at Shadikongoro, Ndonga Linena, Sikondo and Etunda Green Scheme after NORED pulled the plug over outstanding arrears of N$14 million. Power was only restored after payments were made.

Over the years government irrigation projects have complained about the cost of power and the ministry of agriculture has taken up the matter, but has to date not been able to convince NORED to lower its tariffs.

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