Can GRN electrify all schools by next year?
Time has now caught up with President Hage Geingob’s Harambee vision of installing electricity in all schools country-wide by 2020, and this begs the question as to whether this will be possible.
The ambitious plan envisions the total electrification program to also touch national health facilities in Namibia while GRN has regarded access to electricity as an important performance indicator.
By next year, it is also expected that 50% of the rural part of the country will be with electricity.
At the present moment, government has spent N$40 million and N$21 million on rural electrification projects funded by NamPower and the European Investment Bank respectively.
Recently, no one seemed to have expressed a tenacious optimism in government than the deputy minister of mines and energy, Kornelia Shilunga.
During her recent presentation at a Namibia technical conference at Swakopmund, she said 100% electric coverage remains a possibility.
Yet despite her hope, the minister was quick to say that this comes with conditions.
“This will only be possible if there will be an adequate electrical supply that is affordable,” she said.
Facts on the ground are that power supply remains inadequate as the country continue to depend on regional partners to service local demand.
Imports have also been reduced by 6% from 63% so far to 57% as a result of the integration of renewable energy into the grid through the Energy Feed-In Tariff (REFIT) Program.
On the transmission front, Shilunga said the 400kV link from the new Kunene substation to Omatando has been completed during February 2018, but still excludes the end point substations.
She also said NamPower is currently busy with planning for transmission interconnection upgrades from South Africa via the Oranjemund to Keetmanshoop and also from Keetmanshoop to Windhoek routes.
The onus is on government and industry captains to make sure 100% electricity for schools comes out a reality as “Access to electricity remains a challenging issue”.
About the time the Harambee plan was birthed, five primary schools in the Kavango East Region were expected by government to receive electricity under the 2015/2016 rural electrification project, which was allocated a sum of N$5 578 304.13.
The earmarked schools were (JPS) are Tara-tara in the Mashare Constituency; Dikungu, Katentura and Thipanana in Mukwe Constituency; and Kagcuva Primary School in the Ndiyona Constituency.
By that time estimates were that about 370 schools were in the dark all over the country with 49 schools in the Kavango East region.