Namibia eyes cleaner energy

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Southern Times Writer

Windhoek - Namibia has laid down a clear policy framework to liberalise the energy sector for Independent Power Producers (IPP) in line with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) road map for cleaner energy in future.

This is meant to create a balanced power supply and cut over-reliance on conventional energy which in most cases has left the country exposed to inconsistent supply.

In a recent interview with The Southern Times, Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, said the country’s policy on energy aims to encourage more investments by both local and foreign investors in Namibia.

Alweendo added that Namibia’s policy, conceived though a white paper on energy done a few years back, touches on issues relating to pricing, fair competition, licensing and implementation of projects.

“Based on the recent developments in the independent power producers market and the experience gained thus far, the ministry has recognised promulgating a clear, fair and transparent national IPP policy in order to streamline the sector in the country and open the Namibian power market to domestic and foreign investors.

“The national IPP policy outlines the key provisions of the Namibian power sector and market model, pricing regime, procurement approach and the requirement for the IPP to develop power generation projects and seek licenses for implementing these projects. Cabinet approved the policy in 2018,” Alweendo said.

Although a drive has been instituted by the Namibian Government, like any other SADC country, to industrialise, this has been hamstrung by insufficient power supply which is vital for heavy industry to function well.

Namibia also relies solely on state owned power utility, Nampower for its energy supplies despite the fact that the parastatal imports up to 60 percent power at peak periods from Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Alweendo said Namibia’s drive for a balance between cleaner and conventional energy is guided by the SADC Secretariat support system crafted by all member states.

“Member states have agreements in place on trading of electricity regionally. Existing institutions under SADC Secretariat provide support to member states in addressing regional undertakings, for example the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) Regional Electricity Regulation Association (RERA) which coordinates the activities of the energy regulations and the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) with a mandate to promote the uptake of renewable energy,” he said.

Alweendo also told The Southern Times that Namibia has a well laid out 20-year plan meant to improve the country’s generation capacity and transforming it from a net power importer to an exporter.

Other modalities which Namibia has been taping in to improve the country’s power generation is cooperating with other SADC countries in projects that have potential to benefit different member states.

A key example of such cooperation from Namibia is their long standing agreement with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority where they provided capital for the refurbishing of the Hwange Power plant in return for security of supply.

Namibia is also in a working relationships with South Africa’s Eskom who are a key partner in providing power to the desert country.

Options for cleaner energy in Namibia, Alweendo said, include solar energy, wind energy and possibilities of gas powered energy.

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