Windhoek – Renewable energy options, such as solar and wind power, are the answer to reducing Namibia’s dependence on electricity from neighbouring countries.
Mines and Energy Minister, Tom Alweendo confirmed this, on Thursday when he officially opened the Ombepo Wind Farm outside Lüderitz, which was erected by Innosun Energy Holdings in partnership with the Lüderitz Town Council. Ombepo Wind Farm is the country’s first grid-connected wind farm and will supply five megawatts of electricity to the national power grid.
Namibia is still heavily reliant on importing electricity from South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, but this is gradually changing, as more wind and solar power projects, operated by independent power producers, come online.
In the recent past, a number of independent power projects have come online, including the Omburu solar park (4.5MW), Osona solar park (5MW), Aussenkehr solar park (5MW), as well as the Karibib solar plant, Arandis solar and the Grootfontein power plant.
A number of big corporations and government ministries have also opted for renewable energy and have installed massive solar grids on their rooftops. These include the UN House, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, NamPower, Namibia Breweries Limited, Woermann Brock and Spar Namibia.
“I would like to thank everyone who has thus far taken on this commitment, thereby enhancing government’s ambitious target of providing 70 percent of the country’s energy mix from renewable resources by the year 2030. As with many big projects in this country, we, as government, cannot handle and achieve all commitments on our own and we are always seeking private partnerships to boost and develop our objectives,” said Alweendo.
He noted that the government has already approved a number of policies to promote the use of renewable green energy, including the National Renewable Energy Policy, the National Energy Policy and the energy ministry is in the process of finalising the Independent Power Producers (IPP) policy. These policies are all aimed at encouraging investment in Namibia’s renewable energy sector and the development of clean, green energy.
“We have thus committed to increasing the local electricity generating capacity from 400 to 600 MW. This includes providing electricity to all schools and health facilities by 2020 while increasing the rural electrification rate from 34 percent to 50 percent by 2020. These are not over-ambitious targets if we all work together, and I am proud to say that these aims are well on their way to being achieved with the help and investment of partners such as Innosun Energy Holdings,” said Alweendo.