NamPower is betting on renewable energy to boost the country’s local generation capacity.
The company whose mandate is to ensure power supply in the country, currently has an installed capacity of 489.3 MW and imports over 60 percent of its needs to augmenting the local generation deficit.
NamPower Managing director, Kahenge Haulofu announced during the launch of its strategic plan that the power company was looking at an additional 220 megawatts to come on stream in the next five years, mainly from biomass, solar, and wind.
“Namibia has numerous power supply options that could potentially be developed to meet the future electricity requirements’ one of the highest solar radiation levels in the world, Namibia stands to benefit as the worldwide boom in the solar market results in reduced costs and improved efficiency of solar PV panels and related equipment,” he said.
“NamPower is committed to supporting the government in achieving the goals laid out in the National Integrated Resource Plan by adding 150MW new NamPower generation capacity, comprising 40MW biomass, 20MW of solar, 40MW of wind and 50MW of firm power, and procuring 70MW new capacity from Independent Power Producers through competitive procurement, comprising 20MW of solar and 50MW of wind.”
In terms of biomass, NamPower is planning to establish a 40MW biomass power plant at Otjiwarongo, which had been targeted for completion by 2020.
“We have carried out all the studies and looked at various capacity sizes and the economy of scale of the plant. This is a project that we believe through studies will have a lot of spin offs. Government might even come in the future asking us to replicate it,” Haulofu said.
Quizzed by an attendee of the strategic plan launch on the environment impact of the plant and whether NamPower could consider reducing the plant size to see its impact, the power utility MD said, “ There is no fear as the resource for the feeding the plant is huge and its is positive to have it in Namibia.”
On the envisaged concentrated solar power (CSP), Haulofu said the company was still planning to implement the project, but it was unlikely to be realized within the timelines of the strategic plan.
“As our long-term project, we have the CSP and it is unlikely to be realized in the short to medium term and that is why I did not say much about it and the Baynes Project.
According to NamPower’s earlier plans as part of the construction of the CSP, the company planned to put up a 40MW solar plant and then another one, a 20 MW, which was to be built through a public private partnership.
NamPower has planned to take up a 51 percent stake in the power plants and farm out 49 percent to interested investors, including contractors and financial institutions.
The power utility planned to finance its 51 percent stake through a combination of its own cash reserves and loans.
With regards to the Kudu and Baynes projects, the NamPower MD said the company supported government’s efforts to realise the projects.
“NamPower will continue to support the government in its aspirations for the development of feasible power generation projects in Namibia,” he said.
The Baynes hydropower project is a yet-to-be realized 600MW station supposedly to be built on the Kunene River, along the Namibia-Angola border, while the decades old Kudu gas project is purportedly a combined cycle gas turbine power plant that was expected to generate 475MW if constructed.
According to NamPower, a wood fuel plant (if ever sustainably harvested wood supplies are continuously and inexpensively available) can generate power electricity 24 hours a day, while solar power can only generate energy during the day and power generation by wind only during favorable wind conditions.