01 August 2019

Namibia has announced plans to construct four
plants powered by renewable energy over the next five years in bid to guarantee
local supplies and cut use of fossil fuels.

State-run utility, NamPower MD, Kahenge Haulofu
announced the reports and said that the plants will harness biomass, solar and
wind to generate a combined 220 megawatts.

Construction of the plants is projected to cost US
$328m and will begin later this year through 2022. The project according to
Haulofu will be financed with internal resources. Nampower currently
imports about 60% of its needs, mostly from South Africa.

“The country, which is the driest in sub-Saharan
Africa and has more than 300 days of sunshine a year, “stands to benefit as the
worldwide boom in the solar market results in reduced costs and improved
efficiency of solar photovoltaic panels and related equipment,” said Haulofu.

“Namibia, which is bigger than France by land area
but has a population of just 2.6 million people, has potential sites for the
development of large-scale wind-power projects,” Haulofu added.

According to the REN21-SADC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report, the challenge in Namibia is to provide
electricity access to the 79% of the rural and sparse population that does not
have access by establishing feasible and maintainable off-grid solutions.

The Rural Electricity
Distribution Masterplan 2010, priorities 2,879 rural localities to be
electrified in the next 20 years and identifies 27 localities for off-grid
electrification including via renewables; however, implementation has been

So far the country has developed several pilot
mini-grids, including three off-grid systems: Gobabeb, Tsumkwe Mini Grid and
Gam Solar PV Mini Grid. In rural and remote areas where neither the main grid
nor mini- grids are available, consumers depend on stand-alone electricity
sources, mainly diesel generators.

The use of solar technologies has been increasing, and hybrid solar/diesel systems have proved to be technically sound off-grid solutions.

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue