Text Francios Olivier
Text Francios Olivier
I n light of its vision metric of reducing its carbon footprint by 20 percent by the year 2019, the O&L Group through its subsidiary O&L Energy officially introduced its bush-thinning project which will not only eventually replace 80% of the current 3600 tons of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) used by NBL – at its operating plant in Windhoek, but will also benefit the country’s agricultural sector at large.
Mutorwa and the Director of Forestry, Joseph Hailwa, as well as Namibia’s media fraternity were special guests to the site at Teufelsbach to witness the process of bush-thinning – from the harvesting to the chipping of unwanted bushes in the area. This project conducted and managed by Organic Energy Solutions – a unit of O&L Energy – will see the problematic bush encroachment removed for the generation of energy.
Organic Energy Solutions Director, Eike Krafft: “Bush encroachment is a huge problem in Namibia, with about 30 million hectares of land invaded by unwanted bush. This makes it difficult for animal feed to grow, for cattle movement, and ultimately diverts into a big problem for local farmers. However, on the flip side, this largely unwanted bush represents an energy source that is not utilized in Namibia. So basically we are turning a problem into an opportunity, and in turn finding energy solutions for the country. We take the bush and turn it into something usable and produce industrial products.”
According to Krafft, the energy generated with the harvested invader bush at Teufelsbach eventually ends up in the recently purchased and installed N$50 million bio-mass boiler at NBL which is used to generate heat energy as opposed to HFO used over the years. NBL is also Organic Energy Solutions’ main customer at the moment, with tons of wood chips delivered daily to the NBL plant in Windhoek for the operation of its bio-mass boiler. The boiler forms part of NBL’s strategy in reducing its carbon footprint. NBL Managing Director, Wessie van der Westhuizen: “I am very impressed with what I see here. A job well done to the team of O&L Energy and Organic Energy Solutions. This is breakthrough – an opportunity that will benefit not only NBL, but the whole country at large. It also falls perfectly in line with the O&L Group purpose of ‘Creating a future, Enhancing life’ for all Namibians. And because of that, it is our responsibility to make this work. The bio-mass boiler which we currently purchase the wood chips for is significant in that it is a first for Namibia; it reduces NBL’s carbon footprint, and takes Namibia a step closer towards the provision of sustainable energy solutions. The acquiring of the boiler is in line with O&L’s strategy to move towards renewable energy and to continue to find solutions that are more environmentally friendly and enhance sustainability.”
During his statement, the Minister of Agriculture, Water & Forestry, John Mutorwa stressed on the importance of public-private-partnerships, and commended O&L and O&L Energy in specific, for the breakthrough initiative of the bush-to-energy project. Mutorwa: “On behalf of government I would like to congratulate O&L and its subsidiaries O&L Energy and NBL on this wonderful initiative. Namibia has a lot of breakthrough opportunities when it comes to especially energy generation. Whatever it is we can do, we must do, in order to ensure that this country moves forward and not backwards. I am excited about what is happening here. This project is a perfect example of the level of thinking, combined with private-public-partnerships that will take us forward.”