The Sheya Shuushona Lodge will now be powered by a N$5,2 million solar power plant with a minimum capacity of 150 kilowatts (Kw), the Environmental Investment Fund announced last week.
The solar power plant was handed over to the conservancy on October 27.
The plant is funded under the Ecosystem-Based Adaptation investment window under the Empower to Adapt (EDA) project.
The EDA project is centered around Creating Climate Change Resilient Livelihoods through Community Based Natural Resource Management in Namibia (CBNRM) and is implemented through the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) of Namibia.
Sheya Shuushona Conservancy is situated in Otamazi constituency in Omusati region and covers an area of 506 600 hectares, with the project occupying a hectare.
According to information shared by EIF, the project design is centered around the construction of a solar plant at the Lodge and climate change awareness and capacity building for Conservancy Management Committees.
The project activities entail the establishment of a solar power plant with a total of 216 panels and a minimum capacity of 150Kw to provide power for the Lodge.
The Fund explained that the project is a manifestation of local-level empowerment and ownership as well as enterprise development through a joint venture through an off-take agreement with Namibia Exclusive Safari.
Furthermore, the concept further embeds a local-level fund which is ring-fenced for other climate change adaptation options.
The update from EIF indicates that the project has to date benefited a total of 3 551 people and 17 jobs were created during the development of the solar plant.
The project further trained 10 youths on solar plant operation, maintenance, and administration.
The Fund added that the 150Kw will “greatly” empower the conservancy in its contribution to the tourism business and enhance renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.
THE RURAL ECONOMY AND ENERGY
During his officiating remarks, environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta stated that access to modern energy services is one of the indices for the level of national development, worldwide.
He indicated that in developing countries such as Namibia, there is still quite a significant percentage of the population without access to energy services such as electricity, let alone the use of green energy to curb emissions.
“I have seen and experienced the struggle and drudgery of most of our community-based organizations in the absence of basic energy service facilities,” Shifeta testified.
He said most promising community-based establishments, especially those in very remote corners of the country, usually close down as a result of high operating costs related to diesel costs when CBNRM (community-based natural resource management ) communities are adopting diversified livelihood options in the face of severe climatic challenges.
The minister was however said that the intervention and involvement of key stakeholders will serve to provide the much needed income to the conservancy.
He further stated that he has been assured that certain mechanisms have been put in place for the creation of a revolving fund which will support community projects and livelihood options in the conservancy.
Shifeta said that the increased use of renewable energy such as the solar plant, will not only cushion the country from the adverse effects of climate change but will also act as a catalyst for enhancing social and economic development in the rural area.
Namibia has a National Policy on Climate Change in place whose aim is to contribute to the attainment of sustainable development in line with Namibia’s Vision 2030, through the strengthening of national capacities to reduce climate change risk and build resilience for any climate change-induced shocks. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org