Nampower to increase renewable energy into national grid by 2023

Tujoromajo Kasuto

The 20MW Omburu Solar PV plant, which is expected to be completed in March of next year.

The plant is being built by Hopsol Africa (Pty) Ltd and Tulive Private Equity JV, to supply clean renewable energy to 20,000 households via the NamPower grid.

The solar power plant will consist of 33,000 solar panels and 100 inverters. The panels will be mounted on 67 single-axis trackers that follow the movement of the sun from east to west.

The project’s main goals are to lower the total Nampower tariff for customers by delivering affordable “new-build” renewable energy to the Namibian grid, and to support the pledges set at COP21 to increase the country’s proportion of renewable energy generation to 70 percent or higher by 2030.

Meanwhile, Nampower has created a new five-year Integrated Strategic Business Plan (ISBP) for the period 2020-2025 as part of its attempts to reposition itself and respond to the existing and changing market conditions.

The plan outlines the company’s strategic focus and the prioritization of resources over the next five years to meet its corporate objectives, as outlined in the plan.

Nampower says Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns have hampered the developments on its 150 MW capital projects, which include the Omburu 20 MW Solar PV Project, the Wind Power Project, the Biomass Power Project, and the 50 MW Anixas II, Firm Power Project.

Board Chairperson Daniel Motinga says that Nampower’s remaining project implementation cycles are lagging and will be accelerated as soon as the economy recovers.

Last year, he says, Nampower spent in excess of N$600 million on various phases of these capital projects.

Furthermore, he notes that due to relatively low rainfall in southern Angola last year, the Ruacana Power Station was not able to operate at optimal capacity and generated a mere 968 GWh of energy, compared to 1,505 GWh during the 2019/20 financial year.

The station is the most significant contributor of in-country generation and there is a negative correlation between the level of the cost of sales and local generation since Ruacana Power Station produces electricity at comparatively low cents per kilowatt hour due to its legacy status.

Part of the 150 MW power generation investment plan is to de-risk the significant dependency on imports and, at the same time, partially augment the relative importance of the power station.

In terms of financial performance, the power utility has come under pressure for the 2020/21 financial year, with its turnover dropping by nearly 5 percent, partly because of a 10.3 percent drop in its unit sales volumes.

Another factor which impacted on the financial performance of the company is the fact that no tariff increase was awarded.

The power utility also kept employee costs strictly under control below N$1 billion.

Despite the drop in some of their income streams, profit has seen significant improvement where profit from core operations increased to N$1.1 billion.

In terms of demand growth, Nampower showed positive energy demand/consumption growth for five consecutive years until fiscal year 2017/18, and energy demand for the previous eight fiscal years. Energy usage fell by 0.5 percent in 2021, from 3,945 GWh in the previous year (2019/20) to 3,925 GWh.

However, after the fiscal year 2022, an average positive increase of 0.8 percent in demand is expected, rising to two percent in year five. This increase in projected demand is due to better economic recovery prospects, which are expected when the Covid-19 vaccine deployment increases and the globe returns to normal without travel restrictions.

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