Namibia is in a position of opportunity to ensure long-term sustainable and reliable energy supply should it adapt its energy model to include decentralisation as a key area of focus.

Energy Expert, Harald Schutt, made the above statement which he then supported by environmental facts pertaining to that region which has a wealth of renewable resources: wind, biomass and solar.

Schutt is performing a two day renewable energy workshop in Swakopmund, Namibia. The key theme is focusing on the benefits of decentralisation as the next step forward. Schutt believes that this approach may resolve the current business model which is failing its consumers.

Key stakeholders in nearby areas such as councillors and mayors will be attending the workshop including Erongo Regional Electricity Distributor Company (Pty) Ltd[1].

“Despite their efforts, we have seen through the years how very often European solutions have been applied for African problems, such as energy supply. We have been using technologies that has been imported and develop under completely different conditions for Europe and are applying it to our African needs,” he said.

Schutt identified the importance of a population as a contributing /deciding factor on energy action plans:

“If we look at Germany, in terms of population density. For every 10 kilometres one would find at least 2300 that can bear the cost of a energy supply to that specific suburb. In Namibia one would often find no one living in that radius whereby the closest village to the power station could be about 40 kilometres away with only 250 inhabitants and this makes power supply an expensive process for government and the end user”.

Nampower has maintained a steady supply of energy to its users which is commendable considering they operate with a network designed to supply a small community of those with access to power.

“I must say that Nampower is doing a great job in terms of electricity supply despite the fact that they inherited a network that was meant to only supply whites with electricity before independence”.

“Africans should use African resources to supply our African people.”

Being in the position to generate energy via small scale renewable resources, the collective community can come together and combine their resources to feed back into the national grid which will result in lower tariff charges.

“Individual investments into generation capacity in villages and households can also be made to supply energy and cut costs involved as well”

These investments can be made possible by using the net metering system which is currently under review by the Electricity Control Board who will decide if this is a feasible model for the local industry.

“Net metering simply means energy or electricity is generated during day time and then used in the evenings”.

[1] Erongo RED was developed to bring quality, uniformity, viability and sustainability to the electricity distribution industry: Stakeholders including the Municipalities of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Hentiesbaai, Omaruru, the Town Councils of Usakos, Karibib, Arandis, the Erongo Regional Council, as well as NamPower. (Sourced from Erongo RED website)