The study was conducted by STEAG Energy Services GmbH in colaboration with Transworld Cargo between February and October 2013 on a budget of N$1 million. The results of the study where presented to stakeholders by researchers of STEAG Energy Services on Thursday morning this week. According to statistics provided by the study, bush encroachment affects 26 million to 30 million hectares of farmland and is estimated to cause overall economic losses of N$ 1.6 billion a year.
However, at the same time, bush encroachment constitutes an immense economic opportunity as well as a potential energy asset. Biomass as a national energy source has great potential to play a major future role in the national energy supply of the country. Effective debushing programmes not only contribute to increase agricultural productivity, they also have an effect on improving the national energy supply base, which has the potential to increase self-sufficiency in energy and to bridge a demand gap of energy supply expected to take effect as of 2016. The national energy generation capacity in the country totals up to approximately 500 mW and even with the recent upgrading of the Ruacana power station, the country's own production of power is not sufficient for the total national power demand. Even more so is the fact that a high amount of electricity is imported from neighbouring countries which is said to be cheaper than the self-production as a result of higher local power productions costs. According to the study, in order to avoid a possible demand gap from the year 2016 onward, new power generation capacities have to be realised. This includes rehabilitating the Van Eck power station near Windhoek. This project is expected to be completed in 2014/2015.
The identified biomass utilisation options focus on local consumption and export opportunities. Findings show that local utilisation of biomass for power generation is based on favourable "leveled costs of energy production" which are in the range of N$1.0 to N$1.1 per kilowatt hour.