… Launches construction of 5MW solar PV plant
By Confidente Reporter
OHORONGO Cement took another step into the renewable energy sphere, with the groundbreaking for the construction of a 5MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant during World Environment Day celebrations on Monday.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at the Ohorongo Cement farm Sargberg plant near Otavi.
The company availed land next to its cement plant for the construction of the solar PV facility.
SunEQ four Investment, an independent power producer and solar asset development platform, in collaboration with its Namibian partner, Hungileni CC, who will develop, construct and own the solar PV plant, will provide green and clean electricity to the cement factory.
The close to N$100 million investment is expected to be in operation by the end of 2017, and will be located in close vicinity to the cement factory. “Electricity is of paramount importance to our operations and constitutes 25 percent of our production requirements. We are aware of the country’s precarious energy situation, and hence we took the decision to tap into the renewable energy resources, which our country is endowed with,” said Ohorongo Cement Managing Director, Hans-Wilhelm Schütte. “With this, Ohorongo will further contribute towards Namibia’s efforts to reduce electricity imports, and reduce CO² emissions generated from using fossil fuels.”
The energy source will assist Ohorongo Cement to significantly reduce its electricity expenses and running costs. The development is expected to create many temporary jobs during the construction phase, as well as permanent jobs, when it is operational.
“We are excited about these developments, as we believe in the utilisation of local human capital, the sharing of knowledge and the transfer of skills,” said Schütte.
Ohorongo has signed a 15- year power purchase agreement with SunEQ four Investment. This will make Ohorongo Cement one of the first industries in Namibia to utilise solar generated power for industrial usage, within its operation. This is the beginning of Ohorongo’s journey to assist Namibia with increasing the uptake of renewable energy technologies in the country’s energy mix, in order to address the concerns of secured supply, as alluded to by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, on several occasions. “The use of solar energy in Ohorongo’s operations will contribute positively towards reducing the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions. This will also assist the government to increase the share of renewable energy in electricity production to 70 percent of our consumption by the year 2030, as per our commitment towards our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC),” said Theofilus Nghitila, Namibia’s Environmental Commissioner. The construction of the plant will commence once SunEQ four Investment has obtained a generation licence from the Electricity Control Board. SunEQ four Investment and Hungileni cc have teamed up as a consortium to realise
this exciting project. “If everything goes well, there is no reason why we should not repeat the success and equip other industrial and public off-takers with solar power,” said Johanna Shuungula from Hungileni cc. The groundbreaking ceremony was also witnessed by Otavi Town Councillor, Merlyn Steyn, and experts in the renewable energy sector.
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