USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub conducted a best practices exchange trip for the board of Zambia’s Rural Electrification Authority (REA) to observe rural electrification project installations in Namibia from May 17-23, 2015.
The delegation from Zambia met with Namibian Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Energy Kahijoro Kahuure, Deputy Director of Energy Daniel Zaire, and other government officials, as well as USAID Namibia. Meetings were held throughout the rural areas of northeast Namibia, including with the Otjivarongo Regional Council and Central North Regional Energy Distribution Company (CENORED), which distributes electricity to 40,000 customers in the Otjozondjupa and Kunene regions over an area of 120,000 square kilometers. During the trip, the REA Board assessed Namibia’s advances in feasible rural electrification with an eye towards replicating the technologies back home in Zambia.
The team was especially interested in the hybrid solar photovoltaic/diesel mini-grid systems as well as Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) technology (pictured above). The Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy arranged site visits to two solar PV/diesel hybrid plants in Tsumkwe and Gam, as well as a SWER grid connection point in the Khomas Region near the capital city of Windhoek. The REA Board noted successes and challenges as well as lessons learned from the renewable energy developers. The discussion focused not only on technology but also on project financing, incentives, and ownership. Of particular value was the opportunity the delegation from Zambia was given to discuss the quality of energy service and its impact on economic and social life with local residents onsite during the tour.
Photo: Zambia’s Rural Electrification Authority Board Makes Study Visit to Namibia to Observe Clean Energy Installations