The NERA and Electricity Bills are awaiting Cabinet approval before the legislative process starts, CEO Foibe Namene said in an interview.“As the ECB is currently focused on electricity, NERA will have to recruit additional expertise and resources to meet its expanded regulatory mandate, but the transformation of
the ECB will be cheaper than establishing different regulators for different sectors.”
Namene said once the bills are promulgated, NERA will take over the regulatory powers regarding downstream gas, transmission of gas, petroleum transmission and renewable energy.
“This will include tariffs relating to the use of downstream gas and petroleum infrastructure, but does not include determining the retail fuel price, whose determination will remain with the Ministry of Mines and Energy,” Namene said.
Oil companies have invested N$25 billion drilling for oil offshore Namibia since 1990, according to statistics released by the Namibia Petroleum Operators Association during the Chamber of Mines of Namibia Expo held in April.
The number of oil exploration licences issued by the Ministry of Mines and Energy has jumped from two in 2007 to 14 in 2018.
Namene said the government wants to convert the ECB because the regulatory framework for downstream gas and downstream petroleum is not fully developed.
“Establishing a regulatory framework for these sectors will assist in improving legal certainty and improving safety and transparency in those sectors, which could lead to more investments.”
Namene said the advantages of establishing NERA will include transparency in the energy sectors, promotion of energy diversity, security of supply and promotion of private sector investment.
In the most recent National Development Plan 5, the energy situation was revised, and an even more ambitious target has been set by government for 2022, where Namibia has a sustainable mix of locally generated energy capacity of 755 MW to support household and industry development.
The government has committed to increasing the local electricity generating capacity from 400 to 600 MW.