“Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equality and an environment that allows the world to thrive”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
There are a number of development aims for a country such as Namibia, which must be delicately balanced. The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development goals of 2015 set out some of these, while the UNFCCC is also creating demands for these to be met whilst reducing carbon emissions. Developed countries must transition to low carbon economies with the advantage of decades and in some cases centuries of unrestrained hydrocarbon use. Developing countries must now meet the pressing needs of their citizens using an increasing share of renewable energy resources, despite their greater expense.
As Ban Ki-Moon noted, energy access is key to virtually all other development goals. It will not solve development issues such as health and education on its own, but it is a necessary enabling factor. Currently just 32% of Namibia’s population has access to electricity, according to the IEA’s 2015 World Energy Outlook. Therefore 2m people lack access to this modern energy source and must rely primarily on biomass for heating and lighting. The indoor pollution this creates has huge negative effects on health and limits the ability of Namibians to engage in education and business.
ANE’s natural gas to solar plan aims to solve this problem, while helping Namibia to progress towards its own Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) to the 2015 Paris Agreement. Namibia has pledged to reduce its projected 2030 ‘business as usual’ carbon emissions by 88%. Because Namibia currently produces few emissions from electricity generation, these savings will primary come from Agriculture Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU). Namibia has pledged to drastically reduce deforestation rates as well as dependence on wood for fuel by 2030.