It is worth asking?
In this present context Namibia is a very interesting place to be in. The contentious Kudu Gas project which may well come into development, the efforts of a youthful political leader who deserves the attention he gets and the possible postponement of the elections. In recent weeks, an advocacy group has called for the abandonment of the Kudu to gas power project. All efforts to stall and even have the project written off seem to have fallen on deaf ears following a high level press conference held this week in the board room of the Ministry of Mines and Energy. Under the spotlight was this very project, dodged by constant take-overs and delays. Namibia and the rest of Africa face a dire energy crisis brought about by what could be our dependence on colonial power stations, political wrangling, and the delay of the illustrious Inga power project. Of course there are considerable alternatives and worth asking, what has brought us to the situation we find ourselves in. Not Namibia but Sub Saharan Africa as a whole.
If we look to the far east, the discovery of notable gas reserves in soon to be gas mecca Mozambique, much closer to home, the discovery of vast amounts of coal in the Kalahari basin, across the Oranje, well, the contentious shale gas resources and on the banks of the Kunene the potential for not the grandest hydro-power project [Baines] it really is worth asking what our problem is. Namibia for example has been identified as a prime location for the exploitation of solar energy. It is worth asking, what has first and foremost the Ministry of Mines and Energy done? Are we pinning our hopes on an energy policy framework drafted most probably in haste and without any consideration for the future and what policy alternatives are under review. And has it taken us 20 years to realise that we need to draft a nuclear policy framework. For goodness sake we are the fourth largest exporter of uranium. Our dear energy regulator. What are you doing to encourage competition and innovation. Yes Mr. Siseho Simasiku you should ask yourself the question that despite your attempts to level the playing fields as you claim you have tried, why is there a lack of competition and innovation. Dear regulator, in comparison to the work done by the Bank of Namibia, Namibia Financial Supervisory Authority and recently launched Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia you are a sorry state of affairs.
Like Eskom, the only reason we have a power utility is because of the work done by the colonial government. SWAPO sympathisers deal with it. 20 years and you add a single turbine. Is it not worth asking? And not to even think of the mischief you are up to. Have you perhaps looked at initiating a study on optimising the potential energy produced at van Eck. No wonder the Asians can pull a fast one on you so easily you simply do not know what you are doing. And mind you, in their glass towers in Shanghai they are laughing at you.
Think TransNamib and 50 year old technology covered up neatly. Don’t pat yourself on the back for fixing run down power stations in Zimbabwe that’s a quick fix gone down the drain.
The energy crisis needs a concerted effort if we are to move forward.
Dear policy makers at the ministry, remove the strict barriers to entry, appoint competent individuals with foresight, constantly evaluate policy so as to ensure relevance. Regulator, man up, you are entrusted to protect us. Utility, the energy space does not solely belong to you!