Managing Director of the state-run NamPower (Namibia Power Corporation), K. Haulofu, said that they would construct four renewable energy generating power plants in the next five years. That is part of the NamPower 2019–2023 business plan, and the cost of the project is 338 million U.S. Dollars (or 4.7 billion Namibian Dollars).
The idea is not only to reduce the country’s consumption and dependency on fossil fuels but to boost local electricity supplies too, as Namibia currently greatly relies on South African power imports.
Construction is set to start in late 2019 and is expected to be completed in 2022. Haulofu stated, without further elaboration, that the projects were to be funded with internal resources. He further expressed that NamPower would monitor and evaluate the project, employing its Plan-Do-Review approach.
The plan is to grow biomass, solar energy, and wind energy, which is set to generate 220 megawatts combined.
Namibia is officially the 35th biggest sovereign country in the world, with a land surface greater than France and Portugal combined. Yet, with only around 2.6 million inhabitants, it is the 2nd least densely populated, the 1st place going to Mongolia, naturally. Also, studies show that around 1 million (or about 40%) of its population is entirely without electricity.
It is estimated that Nampower currently produces 1.403 billion kWh per year but consumes more than twice that amount, around 3.891kWh. That results in the country importing around 3.073 billion kWh per year, with over 60% of those electrical energy needs coming from South Africa.
It was documented in 2017 that only around 8% of the total installed electricity capacity in Namibia came from renewable resources. NamPower’s three main facilities are the Ruacana hydro plant, the Van Eck thermal (coal) plant, and the diesel plant in Walvis Bay. It has been diversifying and updating, however, and the first-ever solar-energy generating plant was commissioned from independent producers four years ago. They’ve also made advancements on Biomass projects, capitalizing on the bush encroachment that’s been happening due to climate change and overgrazing.
With an average of over 300 days of sunshine per year, this country is a prime candidate when it comes to solar-powered energy plants.
Haulofu stated that Namibia would surely benefit from the solar market boom. The solar photovoltaic panels they intend to use, as well as other equipment will be efficient and cost-effective.
He added that there were many potential renewable energy sites around the country, hinting that large-scale projects in Namibia were only just beginning.