Namibia targets local power generation by 2021

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Tiri Masawi

Windhoek - Namibia will be producing 60 percent of its power locally by 2021 following the implementation of different projects to improve the country’s grid, a senior government said last week.

Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, said his country had liberalised the power sector to allow independent power producers as well as renewable energy companies to produce as part of a raft of measures to improve power generation.

“We have put in place different measures as well as identify priority projects to make sure we are power sustaining by 2021. We have moved away from the monopoly where state-owned Nampower is the only buyer of power and allowed other consumers to buy power directly from producers,” he said.

Alweendo said the move was aimed at cutting down over-reliance on power imports and also stimulating industrial growth. Currently, Namibia relies on power imports from South Africa and Zimbabwe, a move Alweendo said had delayed industrialisation.

Ironically, both South Africa and Zimbabwe have not been able to sustain their domestic power needs, resulting in acute load shedding that has seriously affected consumers, including businesses.

The Namibian minister said the country had laid the foundation to grow the power generation industry by looking at a number of suitable and affordable options to sustain its power needs and possibly feed into the Southern African Development Community power grid.

Namibia’s chief source of power is hydroelectricity which in most cases has been erratic during low rainfall seasons. Alweendo said the country needed to diversify its power generation while at the same time doing it in a manner that will fit in with the availed financial resources. Alweendo said while serious considerations have been made about instituting the Kudu gas project, the challenges were that the reserves might not be enough to generate power for the country and also find a market for excess.

He said Namibia was looking at biomass energy, renewable energy as well as conventional energy to sustain itself. 

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