Namibia slowly becoming self-sustainable with energy

Niël Terblanché

In an effort to decrease Namibia’s reliance on electricity supply from neighboring countries, the country’s national electricity supplier, NamPower, yesterday signed exclusive Power Purchase and Transmission agreements with CERIM Lüderitz Energy to supply electricity to the national grid.

As a result of the agreement signed in Windhoek, CERIM will construct a 50 Mega Watt wind power plant at a cost of N$1.4 billion. The power plant is expected to be put into commission in mid-2025.

Although 50MW of wind-generated electricity is not nearly enough to supply Namibia in its entirety, an increase in the generation of low-cost power by alternative means will ease pressure on Namibian consumers.

NamPower’s Managing Director, Kahenge Haulofu during the signing of the contract said that the commissioning of the project in July 2025 will displace 50MW of imports.

“This project will contribute significantly to our supply portfolio when combined with other generation projects that form part of the ISBP and it is a step in the right direction considering the power supply situation in the Southern African Power Pool,” he said.

Earlier this year, the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa announced an energy state of emergency after that country’s generating capacity became dangerously low.

In the wake of the announcement by the South African Head of State, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, summoned the management of his ministry and NamPower to his office in February, to ascertain Namibia’s ability to overcome difficulties in the event of the switch being flipped off by South African power utility, Eskom.

At the time Alweendo said the purpose of the meeting was to find out measures NamPower would take if an interruption of electricity supply occurred from South Africa.

“We should all be concerned about importing electricity from countries that face generation challenges and put emergency measures in place,” Alweendo told the Windhoek Observer.

The energy Minister also urged the public enterprise Ministry to ready a response to NamPower’s readiness and ability to generate electricity.

Currently, the country relies on imports while its major power stations in Windhoek, Ruacana and Walvis Bay only start up when supply from across the borders is interrupted.

Meanwhile, Leake Hangala, the former Chief Executive Officer of NamPower, urged the government to take advantage of Namibia’s natural gas resources to develop generating capacity.

“Namibians should rally behind the speedy development of the Kudu Gas project to enable Namibia to become power independent,” he said.

According to Hangala, when developed and commissioned, the Kudu Gas Project would enable Namibia to become a bulk supplier of electricity to the entire Southern African Region.

The signing of the Power Purchase Agreement between NamPower and CERIM Lüderitz Energy in Windhoek yesterday, follows shortly on the heels of President Hage Geingob’s visit to the harbour town over the past weekend to discuss the development of energy projects in the Karas Region.

Although the consultations in Lüderitz focussed mainly on Green Hydrogen Projects and crude oil discoveries, other projects such as wind and solar power generating projects also featured in the discussions.

Josephine Nghimtina, who spoke on behalf of CERIM Lüderitz Energy, said that it is a great honour for the company to partner with NamPower to contribute towards the stability of the energy supply in Namibia.

Nghimtina commended NamPower for providing opportunities to previously disadvantaged Namibians to participate in the energy sector.

“Such a privilege comes with great responsibility and said CERIM Luderitz Energy will do everything in its power to ensure that the project is completed within the projected scope and time,” she said.

According to the Project agreements, CERIM will be responsible for the complete development of the power plant, which entails the financing, construction, operation, and maintenance, while NamPower will be the exclusive buyer of electricity generated by the power plant for a term of 25 years.

The power plant is set to be built 16 kilometres south of Lüderitz and construction is expected to take 27 months.

CERIN will construct the power plant on a Build-Own-Operate Basis, and will also be responsible for the construction of the associated transmission connection infrastructure required to connect it to the national electricity supply grid.

The 50MW Lüderitz Wind IPP Power Project forms part of NamPower’s planned generation projects under its Integrated Strategy and Business Plan (ISBP) for the period 2020 to 2025.

The ISBP outlines the company’s strategic focus, which includes the prioritisation of local renewable resources over the five years period in line with the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME)’s determination on the development of generation capacity.

The 50MW Lüderitz Wind IPP Power Project will contribute towards the fulfilment of national development goals and policies such as the Namibia Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP) for the electricity sector, National Energy Policy, Renewable energy Policy as well as the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5).

The 50MW Lüderitz Wind IPP Power Project will also contribute towards local economic employment creation as semi-skilled and unskilled labour which will be sourced from the residents of the Kharas Region.

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