By Ruan Bestbier* Bank Windhoek’s Manager of Sustainable Investments and Deal Origination

The Bank of Namibia's report on Namibia's second quarter performance found that fuel imports significantly contributed to the decline in the country's current account.

An analysis by PSG Namibia states that the value of fuel imports increased in part due to a rise in fuel consumption stemmed from higher electricity production at the Anixas diesel-run power plant. This emergency diesel power station had to be used due to poor rainfall adversely affecting the Ruacana hydropower station's electricity output.  

This situation is one example as to why Namibian companies have turned to investigating and deploying energy efficient technologies to reduce their dependence on traditional forms of energy, such as fossil fuel and electricity. This is motivated by the fact that by applying energy efficient methods, more can be done with less.

By definition, energy efficiency means using less energy to provide the same service or produce the same product. Increasing energy efficiency often costs money up-front but in most cases, this capital outlay is recovered in the form of reduced energy costs within a short time period. This also makes efficiency improvements an attractive starting point for reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change.

The impact of the cost of energy is also felt in key economic industries in Namibia such as fishing and manufacturing. The fishing industry continues to be an energy intensive activity and fishing fleets still need to adapt to high and ever-changing energy prices. In addition, the volatile oil price is a cause for economic concern for the fishing industry.

In Namibia, we continuously see the impact of global warming and the effects of climate change on our local environment and businesses. With Bank Windhoek's Green Bond initiative coupled with SUNREF's technical assistance facility, we aim to turn bankable projects into sustainable realities. By effecting energy efficient technology or practices on your business, the long-term benefits will include savings in cost and maintenance expenses and most of all show that you are serious about climate change and its impending consequences. 

It is important to note that the scope of the overall savings and the methodology required, depend on the situation and location of the building or company and improving energy efficiency is a key tool for reduced carbon dioxide emissions over the long run.

Limited energy security and rising energy prices will likely continue to challenge the growth of Namibian businesses in the near future. These trends tied with the negative impact of bush encroachment, which is estimated to cover half of the country, resulting in a decrease of agricultural yield, reduction of biodiversity and water resources coupled with the impact of drought and a strain on energy resources, make green economy growth a priority in Namibia. In turn, it demonstrates the need to assess and build resiliency to a changing climate.

To be more energy efficient, the way forward is to take a systematic approach with the purpose of obtaining an adequate knowledge of the existing energy consumption profiling your building or group of buildings, an industrial or commercial operation. Further, identifying and quantifying cost-effective energy savings opportunities and to report the findings of these opportunities to the management of your organisation to take action. One of the immediate remedies for addressing these concerns is to apply energy efficient practices which reduces your carbon footprint and enhances cost savings, leading to an overall contribution to your company's bottom line. 

The United Nations (UN) Climate Action Summit, hosted at the UN's Headquarters in New York during September 2019, called for decisive action on the impact of climate change. This has reverberated worldwide with countries taking action to combat the effects on their citizens' livelihoods. Moreover, the main goal of the summit was to advance climate action for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the mean global temperature from rising by more than 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels.

Communities the world over are experiencing food shortages, massive displacement and risks to their livelihoods and lives. In Namibia, the annual average economic losses as a result of climate-related disasters, amounts to billions of Namibian dollars.

To implement recommended changes to address climate change, effective policies, private-sector action and public-private cooperation are needed to assist in creating a more inclusive, sustainable, and affordable and secure local energy system.

These regulation changes must target overall energy policy; demand and supply-side measures; energy tariff regulations; power sector reform; energy efficiency policies, laws, targets and plans; establishment of energy efficiency agencies; and promotion of energy efficiency. Notable examples is the wiliness of local authorities and the government who have taken action by establishing the Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CREEE). This the organisation is responsible for the continuation of the work done by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Institute (REEEI) on Renewable Energy technologies and their use, Energy Efficiency practices, policy and regulation development and climate change mitigation studies.  

Furthermore, the issuance of Namibia's first Green Bond and being a proactive partner of the SUNREF Namibia Programme, is testament to Bank Windhoek's and Capricorn Group's vision of being the financial partner of choice, ultimately leading to positive change in the country and the Southern African region. It is evident that there are still many untapped opportunities to use energy efficiency to save money, cut harmful pollution and meet our climate goals of a limiting global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius to preindustrial levels.

* By Ruan Bestbier Bank Windhoek's Manager of Sustainable Investments and Deal Origination​

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