Nambia must address the problem of inadequate access to electricity (especially in rural areas), the challenge of extending affordable energy services to underserved populations and the need for self-sufficiency and energy independence.
The country must also ensure that the energy sector development is climate-resilient and able to secure energy access even in a non-stationary natural environment.
Renewable energy, if developed strategically and with foresight, holds the solution to all these challenges.
These are some of the statements included in the final draft of the renewable energy policy, which was presented to stakeholders during a one-day workshop held in Windhoek last Thursday.
The National Renewable Energy Policy for Namibia is required to provide guidance to the government on how to develop the renewable energy sector and scale up the contribution of power from renewable sources in the country's electricity mix.
The policy acts as a compass for the government to direct its actions in a manner that serves the objectives, goals and targets articulated in the policy.
The final draft indicates that the policy further aims to enable access to modern, clean and affordable energy services for all Namibians.
In the 84-page draft, four main scenarios have been developed: the Reference Scenario; a Pro-Wind/Solar Scenario with Kudu; a Pro-Hydro Scenario without Kudu; and a 70% Renewable Energy (RE) in 2030 Scenario.
These scenarios express different possible paths Namibia can take, with varying levels of installed capacity of renewable energies. While the first three scenarios are developed for information and comparison purposes, the 70% RE in 2030 scenario will enable Namibia to reach the target of 70% renewable energy in terms of annual generated electricity in 2030.
Officially opening the workshop last Thursday, the chief executive officer of the Electricity Control Board, Foibe Namene, said the project started in February 2016 under a strict timeline of six months, and involved three main activities, namely the inception phase, the gaps and needs analysis, and the policy formulation.
She said they are in the final leg of the project, which will determine Namibia's renewable energy future.
“After this workshop, the consultants will work towards the finalisation of the policy and the implementation plan, followed by the governance process of getting the policy approved by government,” she noted.
Mines and energy minister Obeth Kandjoze told the workshop participants that the renewable energy policy is long-overdue and very important for Namibia to increase the uptake of renewable energy technologies in the country's energy mix to address the concerns of security of supply.
“It is my hope that the implementation of the policy will be accompanied by the same vigour. Policy implementation is not always easy; the real work starts now,” he stated.