Germany seeks to close energy gap

Staff members of the Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung as well as delegates who attended the 2nd Conference on Energy Security at the Sub-Sahara Energy Forum earlier this week. (Photograph by Ibilola Odunlami)

The Federal Government of Germany through the Kreditatstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and NamPower, announced this week it is funding power projects to expand transmission networks and to implement projects for renewable energy.

Speaking at the 2nd Conference on Energy Security Sub-Sahara Energy Forum which was held by the Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung in cooperation with the Development and Rule of Law Programme (DROP) and the University of Stellenbosch in the capital this week, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy, Mr Ullrich Kinne said the German government gave Namibia a loan of N$609 million for the energy sector.
“On 25 June 2015, Minister of Finance Honorable Calle Schlettwein and German Ambassador Hückmann signed an intergovernmental agreement on financial cooperation between Namibia and Germany at which [event] the funding was availed”.
The preferential loan will be used to finance projects on renewable energy and energy sufficiency through NamPower. The main objective of the programme is to ensure a stable and reliable power supply in the short and medium term and to support a sustainable long-term power mix consisting of renewable and fossil elements. Both approaches are flanked by initiatives to increase energy efficiency.
Specific projects to be funded through the programme are the rehabilitation of three turbines at the Ruacana Hydro power plant and the construction of transmission lines from Gerus on the Dorabis road to Otjikoto near Tsumeb, and from Kuiseb to Walvis Bay.
“About N$108 million was allocated for Demand Side Management, this will include NamPower’s initiative to exchange 1 million light bulbs in households with energy saving LED’s free of charge and a programme to subsidize the replacement of 20,000 traditional warm geysers with energy efficient solar water heaters.
As energy is an enabler for economic growth, this agreement will play a vital role in reducing the dependency on power imports, supporting Namibia’s promising economic development and transformation into a modern diversified economy”, said Kinne.
In addition to the funding Kinne also said that there is a German-funded de-bushing project that is exploring the commercial viability of using encroaching bush for energy generation. “The carrying capacity of range land, and productivity of land in a wider sense has been reduced by two thirds, it is only one third of previous levels.
The economic loss through reduced meat production only is estimated to exceed N$1.5 billion per annum. The de-bushing of 1% of a currently bush encroached areas of 30 million hectares would render potential energy benefits as well as create employment for between 400 people fully mechanised and 3000 fully labour-based people harvesting only, excluding downstream effects in processing, transport, marketing, distribution and beyond”.
He further stressed that Namibia has the potential for renewable energies to claim their rightful place in the energy mix if the lack of a feed-in tariff as well as the cap of 10% on the share of renewable energies in the country’s overall power generation are addressed.
“Until the adoption of a feed-in tariff law it is imperative to ensure the swift construction of PV power plants for which licenses have been issued under the IPP platform. Out of 27 licenses issued so far only one PV power plant has actually been built and another one seems to be under construction.
To speed up the process, licenses should only be issued to qualified companies with proven experience in the field”.
Namibia’s other existing loans from the KfW have gone to funding the Hardap Dam rehabilitation, the Trans-Caprivi Highway, rural basic communications, upgrading the port of Walvis Bay, Windhoek water reclamation infrastructure, Oshivelo-Oshakati road rehabilitation, labour-based road construction, the Mururani veterinary gate at Rundu and Ondangwa-Oshikango road rehabilitation.