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KZN firm chosen for pioneering Namibian energy study

KZN firm chosen for pioneering Namibian energy study

Apr 22, 2014

Funding provided by the Energy and Environment Project, South Africa and East Africa (EEP), has given Pietermaritzburg-based renewable energy solutions provider Renen an opportunity to undertake a ground-breaking feasibility study and EPC for a 1 MW waste-to-energy project in Namibia.

The outcomes of the feasibility have the potential to make a significant impact on Namibia and Southern Africa, bringing new opportunities and exciting growth paths.

With an impressive track-record in sub-Saharan Africa and on the international front, of partnering with allied businesses and industry to integrate business and social responsibility, in a union of entrepreneurial social vitality and global greening, Renen is perfectly placed to undertake a project of this nature.

GREENDESERT1 is a waste-to-energy investment project that involves the installation of anaerobic bio digesters and associated technologies. The project provides an innovative opportunity to make use of the constant waste stream generated by agriculture and other organic waste streams, and has been initiated to bring innovation in energy production and use to commercial farming and other end users.

“Partnerships and innovation are the keys to the success of Renen,” says Warren Confait, Renen’s founder and managing director. “Our main aim is to add value to the lives of citizens wherever we can, by offering a broad range of alternative energy products and solutions that are considerate of the world in which we live.”

“Namibia is largely dependent on electricity generated by South Africa’s Eskom and as such is exposed to potentially harsh future electricity price increases and supply security,” Confait says. “This fact alone makes the search for alternative power sources vital for the sustainability of their economy.”

Namibia has a vested interest in the success of GREENDESERT1 as the project offers the possibility of exploring a method of mitigating GHG emissions (to meet their goals stipulated under the Kyoto Protocol), reducing dependence on Eskom’s electrical supply, creating jobs and developing skills and providing a project which could be replicated in other areas of the country.

Intensive farming methods are experiencing substantial growth in Southern Africa and as a result the need for optimal utilisation of farming waste has resulted in an emerging interest in waste to energy projects. To date, few such projects have been implemented, as the majority of the farming community is unfamiliar with power engineering, are inherently conservative and generally lack the capital required to engage in projects of this magnitude.

The stakeholder model proposed by the feasibility study is considerate of the different skill sets required between Namibian agriculture on the one hand and power producers on the other,” Confait continues. “It has the potential to be adapted for many other waste sources, providing a solution to a need for clean energy generation and efficient GHG-mitigating waste management.”

The project’s position is strengthened by the growing need for waste management within commercial agricultural operations; this type of solution will create financial rewards for all stakeholders. The supplier of waste material can also be the power and heat energy user, and will then reap the benefits of the development through long-term energy cost savings.

Confait says: “Although no similar projects have been implemented in Namibia, and few have been initiated in Southern Africa, a great number have been successfully installed and managed in Europe and North America.”

“The success of these projects, associated with a direct link to knowledgeable individuals and organisations in the relevant countries, provides a strong empirical base from which this project can be implemented and potentially replicated in the future.”

With South Africa’s largest rooftop Grid-Tied PV power plant of 1MW under its belt, Renen is now hoping to roll out 3 to 8 MW during 2014.

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