22 October 2018

Southern Africa: Namibia to Host SADC Renewable Energy Centre

THE mines and energy ministry will launch the Southern African Development Community centre for renewable energy and energy efficiency this week.

The centre will be launched by portfolio minister Tom Alweendo, and be attended by ministers and senior government officials responsible for energy in SADC member states as well as representatives of power utilities, regulators as well as regional and international experts and international cooperation partners.

In a statement, mines permanent secretary Simeon Negumbo said over 50% of the SADC population has no access to electricity, although the future and potential for renewable energy and energy efficiency is great.

He added that to trigger the efforts of reaching sustainable energy for all SADC citizens, the member states established the SADC centre for renewable energy and energy efficiency (Sacreee) in 2015, which is based in Windhoek.

"Sacreee is being established with technical support of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, and with financial assistance of the Austrian Development Agency. Namibia has been home to Sacreee since 2016," Negumbo said.

A number of events are scheduled to precede the main event, such as workshops, which will take place from today to Wednesday, and a public dialogue forum on youth and innovation scheduled for tomorrow.

"The workshops are held in collaboration with partners including the International Renewable Energy Agency, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the European Union and the Swedish International Development Agency. An exhibition will be held from 23 to 24 October to showcase companies active in the area of sustainable energy, financing institutions and international organisations, as well as projects which are successfully implemented in the SADC region," the permanent secretary added.

At a press briefing two weeks ago on the power supply situation in Namibia, Alweendo stressed that Namibia continues to import a large part of its electricity demand from neighbours, and in 2017, only 41% of the country's energy demand was generated locally, with the 59% shortfall sourced outside.

"While we appreciate and continue to foster strong relationships with our neighbours, who have thus far supplied our shortfall consistently, over-reliance on imports of a strategic resource such as electricity poses a serious risk to our economy. Electricity is a vehicle for development, and frankly without electricity, economic growth and development in our modern age is severely hindered," the minister stressed.

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