5G Connectivity to Enhance Efficiency of Renewable Energy Sources

The Chief Executive Officer of the Communication Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), Emilia Nghikembua, says 5G technology, known for its unparalleled speed and capacity for real-time control, will revolutionise how Namibia manages its renewable energy resources.

Nghikembua says 5G-powered grids are at the core of Namibia’s renewable energy strategy.

5G is the fifth generation of wireless cellular technology, offering higher upload and download speeds, more consistent connections, and improved capacity than previous networks of 2G, 3G and 4G.

“This advanced connectivity enables the smarter, more efficient operation of solar, wind and hybrid renewable energy systems. Through real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance, 5G ensures that renewable energy infrastructure operates at optimal efficiency, reducing costly and disruptive downtime,” says Nghikembua.

Through the Harambee Prosperity Plan II (HPPII) Namibia has resolved to invest in green hydrogen as part of the Conference of Parties decarbonisation efforts and move towards cleaner energy using wind and solar power.

Nghikembua says the advanced 5G connectivity, equipped with an array of sensors and internet of things (IoT) devices, provide detailed insights into energy consumption and distribution.

The array of sensors and the internet of things devices produce high-resolution data enabling the precise balancing of energy supply and demand, dynamic pricing and improved grid reliability and accessibility, says Nghikembua.

“This advanced technology promises to enhance the efficiency, reliability and scope of renewable energy sources, from solar and wind power to emerging green technologies, paving the way for a more sustainable and energy-efficient future in Namibia. Such advancements are crucial for a country transitioning to a more sustainable energy landscape,” says the CRAN head.

After the regulatory authorities’ auction of 700 MHz and 800 MHz spectrum, which generated approximately N$28.55 million, CRAN awarded 5G licences to mobile network operators Telecom Namibia (TN), Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC), and the local ISP Loc8 Mobile.

Nghikembua says although 5G connectivity holds great potential in delivering sustainability in renewable energy, misconceptions about its environmental impact persist.

“CRAN assures that Namibia’s 5G networks adhere to stringent energy efficiency and emission reduction standards. Advanced antenna designs and beamforming techniques are to be considered in minimising energy usage and environmental impact. Far from being a disadvantage, 5G technology serves as a vital conduit in managing and optimising renewable energy sources, propelling Namibia towards its sustainability objectives,” says the CEO.

One of the most transformative aspects of 5G in the world of renewable energy is its ability to connect remote and rural areas. The technology significantly improves the range and throughput of communication networks, making it feasible to bring renewable energy solutions to even the most isolated communities.

Nghikembua says this inclusivity is key to achieving national electrification and energy independence and by embracing innovation, Namibia will be well on its way to becoming a beacon of renewable energy and technological progress in Africa.

During the MTC 5G trials conducted on 18 March, Emma Theofelus, the Minister of Information, Communications and Technology, said Namibia aims to be industrialised by the year 2030, and as technology keeps evolving, the country can only achieve that vision if it keeps up with the latest technology that can aid and is favourable towards fourth industrial revolution.

“The opportunities that come with 5G are vast, and the onus is upon us to ensure that we take full leverage, because with 5G, the foundation for providing e-governance, e-commerce, and e-health is cemented with superior and faster connectivity,” Theofelus said.

MTC’s Managing Director, Licky Erastus, said the company’s future focus is to bring 5G connectivity to business enterprises that aim to innovate, enhance their operations, and deliver improved stakeholder satisfaction.

“In our digital drive to facilitate innovation, digitalisation, Internet of Things, smart cooperation is indispensable. Through our partnership with Huawei Technology, the long-term perspective is to provide a technological ecosystem underpinned by 5G; and upon which a backbone of the Namibian digital economy is formed,” he said.

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