By Hilary Mare
A total of six solar PV power plants by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are currently under construction and will be commissioned by December, adding an additional capacity of 72 MW to the national power grid, Mines and Energy Minister, Tom Alweendo has revealed.
In total, all renewable energy projects that have been commissioned between April 2015 and September 2018 have added 67.5 MW of installed capacity, which equates to 15 percent of local generation capacity supplied by the IPPs. Government intends to increase this to 41 percent by 2020.
“As at September 2018, eleven of the fourteen projects that qualified for participation in the Interim Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFIT) programme have been commissioned, and now contribute to the country’s electricity supplies,” Alweendo said last week.
The minister added that construction on a second wind power plant will start soon and it is expected to be commissioned in 2020, thus adding a further 44 MW of renewable energy capacity.
“In total about 183MW of generation capacity will be added by IPPs by 2020. This illustrates the increasing role of IPPs in Namibia’s electricity mix, and is testimony of the growing involvement of private sector entities in a steadily changing electricity supply industry.”
Thus far 19 IPPs have signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with NamPower to supply 175.5 MW of renewable energy generation projects by 2020.
“Furthermore, my ministry has developed a National Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP). This is a 20-year development plan for Namibia’s Electricity Supply Industry (ES I), spanning the period 2016 to 2035. It provides projections of the future electricity demand and identifies a mix of least-cost electricity generation options to meet the country’s electricity needs in a reliable and efficient manner,” Alweendo said in view of the power supply situation in the country.
As at September 2018, Namibia’s maximum demand stood at 652 MW. The country has a total installed electrical generation capacity of 557MW. Although the installed capacity is 557MW, the available capacity is 467MW due to the aging Van Eck power station, which is only capable of delivering 30MW from the installed capacity of 120MW.
“The ministry is planning to install an additional capacity of 220MW within the next three years to ensure NDP5 targets and other national goals are reached. This capacity is exclusive of any embedded generation or roof-top installation done by REDs, private companies and individuals. The 220 MW allocation will be split by having 150MW to be allocated to NamPower, and 70 MW to be allocated on a competitive bidding process as per current government procurement laws, to IPPs for implementation,” Alweendo further said.
Namibia continues to import a large share of its electricity demand from neighbouring countries. In 2017, only 41 percent of its energy demand was generated locally while the 59 percent shortfall was sourced from outside.
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