The Electricity situation in the country has most certainly reached an unpredictable state. There have been numerous reports by various organizations in the media and elsewhere, some assuring us that supply of electricity is stable while others are urging people to use electricity sparingly.
A very concerning point to note in these reports is that there is always mention of a foreign country’s conditions that affect the electricity supply of Namibia.
Up until now, the electricity has been on in the country, but we do hear of outages in various towns (although for short periods of time). However this might be due to repair work or improvements. Minister of Mines and Energy Obeth Kandjoze again this week came out with a statement urging consumer to save on usage of electricity in our households and business. Though the minister’s sentiments are admirable, when he mentioned that consumers should reduce their usage during peak times, Namibia needs a culture change in how we utilize electricity. Namibians need to become Energy conscious, smart users of electricity.
NamPower has a department called the Demand Side Management (DSM) Project whichis aimedat effectively addressing the electricity supply shortages in the country by reducing electricity demand on the NamPower network during peak times. They aim to do this through the implementation of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies.
Currently, they project has 2 initiatives, The 1 million Light Emitting Diode (1mLED) Campaign and the 20,000 Solar Water Heater Campaign. These are great initiatives especially they geyser campaign. It is believed that Electrical Geysers Account for almost 40% of an average household’s energy bill.
The Namibian government, through the ministry of Mines and Energy carried out an exercise in the early 2000’s to assess the energy situation in the country and to understand the potential for Renewable Energy. The White Paper on Energy Policy was the resulting document from this exercise which was implemented starting from 2007. The directive requiredSolar Water Heaters to be installed on all new public buildings, on existing public buildings without water heaters and existing public buildings with electric geysers. According to the document, the country has about 97 000 electric geysers installed in households which use over N$100 million worth of electricity every year. If all these Electrical Geysers were replaced, the country could reduce peak demand by almost 20 MW.
The Electricity Control Board of Namibia (ECB) statistical bulletin of 2013 tells us that the average user in central Namibia uses just over 6000kWh per annum. That can be broken down to 17kWh a day. 40% of 17 kWh is an astonishing 6.8 kWh a day just to power your geyser during a day.
NamPower should thus accelerate its initiatives especially that of the Solar Water Heaters. The Namibian nation has heard from the Managing Director of Nampower through various mediums but mention of this “Strategic” initiative is infrequent.
The Namibian nation should also play its part in alleviating the crisis. If home owners consider replacing their electric geysers with Solar Water Heaters, they not only reduce their monthly expenditure on Energy, thus saving hard earned money but they become energy conscious, smart users.
It makes a lot of logical sense for all new houses build in 2015 to have Solar Water Heaters. Investing in a Solar Water Heater will be worthwhile as the payback period is only 3 to 4 years.Most Solar Water Heaters have electrical backup which means if there is no sunshine (Data shows there are 300 clear days of sunshine, and up to 10 hours a day, per year in Namibia), homeowners can still use the grid power to heat up the water.