By Hilary Mare
A secure and reliable supply of energy is central to meeting the objectives of social, environmental and economic sustainability. One contributor to meeting the need for such a supply of energy is implementation of energy efficiency measures. These involve less energy to provide the same level of service required by the end user, thus increasing the benefit which can be obtained from often constrained energy supplies.
In addition to contributing to energy security, increased R and D and investment in energy efficiency (EE) measures could potentially lead to job creation, and would be a key component of meeting Namibia’s emissions reduction targets. A number of EE interventions have been implemented around the world, across various sectors. While many of these have been successful, Nampower’s exercise to distribute one million power saving bulbs to households in the country come in handy and well on time with Namibia facing an electric crisis.
The campaign, known as the 1 Million Light Emitting Diode (1mLED) which will run until May next year is aimed at reducing electricity usage by 30 MW and by 43 GWh per year and will further focus on replacing incandescent light bulbs used for domestic lighting with LED bulbs, for free.
The LED bulb uses far less electricity than other bulbs.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, NamPower’s managing director Kahenge Haulofu highlighted the fact that demand for electricity in Namibia has increased significantly over the years, overtaking the available generation capacity.
“The situation prompted NamPower to implement the Short Term Critical Supply (STCS) programme, under which various short to medium-term initiatives are being implemented to address immediate power supply shortages until a base-load power station is commissioned.
The Demand Side Management (DSM) Project is one of the initiatives under the STCS programme, with the 1mLED campaign forming part of DSM,” he said.
Haulofu said the whole campaign will cost NamPower N$135 million, which is far less than the production or import cost of 30 MW.
Essentially, Nampower’s 1 Million Light Emitting Diode will contribute significantly to Namibia’s national economic development through encouraging the more efficient use of electricity by residential energy consumers. Energy savings at both individual homes and national levels make important contributions to Namibia’s economic efficiency and sustainability, particularly in the context of the rising demand for electricity currently occurring in Namibia.
Residential electricity demand is currently at an unfavourable percentage of national generation capacity, and as such any efficiency gains made in this sector will have significant benefits for the national economy. The DSM programme administered by Nampower, has recognised the contribution that lighting can make to achieve the national energy efficiency objectives. This strategy links energy sector development with national socio-economic development plans, and sets a target for improved energy efficiency in Namibia residential sector. Improving energy efficiency reduces the need to build more electricity generation capacity.
This is particularly important given the high cost associated with energy infrastructure, as well as the fact that building such fossil fuel infrastructure ‘locks in’ future greenhouse gas emissions in the Namibian economy. Further, the sale of certified emission reductions (CERs) and verified emission reductions (VERs) in the international carbon market by the project proponents will have a positive foreign exchange impact for Namibia.
As well as supporting national energy efficiency policies and delivering macro-economic benefits through reduced energy infrastructure costs, the 1 Million Light Emitting Diode delivers significant socio-economic benefits for participants through job creation and delivering energy savings to households.
In order to deliver the project, Nampower will engage (directly and through partnerships) a large workforce over the short to medium term, to install and distribute the lighting products, as well as manage tasks associated with the projects. This has positive social impacts in terms of employment through the creation of a number of semi-skilled jobs in Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) and skilled jobs in local universities.
“These LED champions have recruited local people from the regions to do the house-to-house removing of the incandescent bulbs and installations of the LED bulbs,” Haulofu said.
Approximately 650 unemployed youth have been recruited and trained to do the actual house-to-house visitations.
As well as the direct financial benefit to households in terms of savings on their electricity bills each year, the project also generates a range of less tangible social outcomes in education and awareness. This raised awareness creates an opportunity for collective action on climate change, enhancing a sense of community, and empowering individual households.
Nampower expects the campaign to result in a 30 to 50 MW saving on its energy bill, marked by ever-increasing dependence on imports.
“The energy savings created through this campaign will have a direct positive benefit on the Namibian economy through reduced electricity import costs.
“Namibia imports about 60 percent of its electricity, mostly during peak times.
Through the campaign, there will be a reduced demand on the national grid during peak times, thus cutting down on the costs of electricity imports,” he said
With very little doubt, electricity is central to the broader development agenda. Without electricity it is unlikely that development projects and public investments, such as schools and community centres, can achieve their intended goals. The expansion of technology initiatives in rural areas, such as supplying computers to students, will not be sustainable without reliable connections to electricity. Electricity is also essential for basic things like charging one’s mobile phone or powering a household water pump and heater.
This is why apart from this initiative, renewable energy initiatives should definitely be part of national energy plans. Renewable energy production is generally good for the environment and may not require large-scale infrastructural projects and investments. But some initiatives need to be complemented by traditional approaches. For renewable energy projects to work systematically they must provide rural dwellers and the poor the same coverage and quality as on-the-grid electricity flows.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015