By Confidente Reporter
THE first phase of construction of the 10 megawatts (MW) solar PV plants for the Ejuva 1 and Ejuva 2 solar energy project commenced after the official groundbreaking ceremony held at the site in Gobabis last week.
Ejuva 1 and Ejuva 2 project is one of the 14 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) under the NamPower interim Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff Programme (REFIT) that will be supplying 5 MW each to NamPower as sole buy in the country after their completion.
The Ejuva 01 and Ejuva 02 project developers, Benzel and Partners Investment (Pty) Ltd, Oka Investment (Pty)Ltd, CIGenCo and Solar 4 Africa (Pty) Ltd as partners in the project will spend N$250 million for the project set up as the construction phase is expected to be completed within six months’ time.
In her welcoming remarks Gobabis mayor Lea Iipinge said these projects will supplement electricity voltage in Gobabis and leads to the release of expensive electricity in town and she further added that the community of Gobabis has welcomed the projects.
Speaking on behalf of the project developers, Werner Shilunga said as young entrepreneurs they took a collective and strategic decision to venture into renewable energy, which was and is still an infant and untapped industry in order to make a meaningful contribution to the social development of the Namibian economy.
Shilunga further added that the Solar PV plant will be used as means of producing electricity by utilising the abandoned sunlight radiation and together with their partners they have secured a signed 25 year-land lease agreement with the Gobabis municipality for 35 hectares of land where the solar project will be constructed.
He concluded by thanking the Namibia government for a conducive and investor friendly environment, Ministry of Mines and Energy for their sound energy policies, the Electricity Control Board(ECB) for excellent industry regulation, NamPower for their REFIT Programme and the Gobabis municipality for their commitment in seeing the project through.
In her address the Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Kornelia Shilunga congratulated the project developers, adding that it is clear testimony as a country to embrace and encourage investment into renewable energy solutions as it demonstrate Government’s unwavering commitment to the development of independent power producers that leads to Renewable energy solutions.
“It is a well-known fact that the country is still fully dependent on the imports of fossil fuels and more than one half of its annual electricity requirements. Thus it is one of the primary policy goals of the Government and Ministry of Mines and Energy in particular to harmonise the mismatch between Namibia’s indigenous energy resources endowment and those that are actually used,” said Shilunga.
She further noted that the country’s primary energy total consumption is dominated by fossil fuels, especially petroleum and diesel which make up more than 60 percent of the country total annual energy use and further added that the electricity accounts for 20 percent total of national energy mix, of which more than 60 percent is imported from neighbouring countries.
“As net importer of most forms of energy Namibia will need considerable local investments such as Ejuva 1 and Ejuva 2 solar project to reduce these strategic risks. It’s therefore important that the to be developed national energy policy is sufficient, pragmatic and goal oriented to attract much needed investment in the sector, both from private as well the Government. Creating and sustaining the requisite incentives is a key requirement that necessitates political stability, regulatory over side and control as well as sustained economic growth. And the same time access to affordable energy remains a major economic empowerment challenge”.
Shilunga further said energy related developments such as the recently completed National Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP), the development of the renewable energy policy and the transformation of Electricity Control Board (ECB) into the country energy regulatory authority are parallel processes that have an important influence on the energy policy.
She concluded saying that when it comes to the energy dilemma, the tradeoff between the three classic energy objectives of security, supply and affordability and sustainability has long been recognised as a central dilemma of the energy policy.
“The energy supply that might be the most secure, might not be the most affordable or the most sustainable and vice versa,” concluded Shilunga.
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