Ohorongo Cement took another step into the renewable energy sphere with the groundbreaking of the construction of a 5 MW Solar PV plant on World Environment day (5th June) at its farm Sargberg plant near Otavi.
The company availed land next to its cement plant for the construction of a Solar PV Plant. SunEQ four Investment, an Independent Power Producer and solar asset development platform, in collaboration with its Namibian partner, Hungileni CC, who will develop, construct and own the Solar PV Plant, will provide green and clean electricity to the cement factory.
The close to N$100 million investment is expected to be in operation by the end of 2017, and will be located in close vicinity of the cement factory.
“Electricity is of paramount importance to our operations and constitutes 25% of our production requirements. We are aware of the country’s precarious energy situation and hence took the decision to tap into the renewable energy resource which our country is endowed with. With this, Ohorongo will further contribute towards Namibia’s efforts to reduce electricity imports, and to reduce CO² emissions generated from using fossil fuels,” said Hans-Wilhelm Schütte, Ohorongo Cement’s Managing Director.
The energy source will assist Ohorongo Cement to significantly reduce its electricity expenses and running costs.
This development is expected to create many temporary jobs during the construction phase, as well as permanent jobs when it is operational.
“We are excited about these developments, as at Ohorongo we believe in the utilization of local human capital, the sharing of knowledge and the transfer of skills,” said Schütte.
Ohorongo has signed a 15 year Power Purchase Agreement with SunEQ four Investment. This will make Ohorongo Cement one of the first industries in Namibia to utilize solar generated power for industrial usage within its operation. This is the beginning of Ohorongo’s journey to assist Namibia with increasing the uptake of renewable energy technologies in the country’s energy mix, in order to address the concerns of secured supply, as alluded by the Minister of Mines and Energy on several occasions.
“The use of solar energy in Ohorongo’s operations will contribute positively towards reducing the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions. This will also assist the government to increase the share of renewable energy in electricity production to 70% of our consumption by the year 2030 as per our commitment towards our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC),” said Theofilus Nghitila, Namibia’s Environmental Commissioner.
Construction of this plant shall commence once SunEQ four Investment has obtained the generation license from the Electricity Control Board.
SunEQ four Investment and Hungileni cc have teamed up as a consortium to realize this exiting project. “If everything goes well, there is no reason why we should not repeat the success and equip other industrial and public off takers with Solar power”, said Johanna Shuungula, of Hungileni cc.
The groundbreaking ceremony was also witnessed by Councillor Merlyn Steyn of Otavi Town Council and experts in the renewable energy sector.