Private sector participation in energy generation a plus

11 Jun 2016 16:20pm
WINDHOEK, 11 JUN (NAMPA) – The Minister of Mines and Energy says the private sector is plays an active role in addressing Namibia’s future electricity needs, lessening the burden on government.
Obeth Kandjoze said this on Friday during the opening of a one-day national stakeholders' workshop on the National Independent Power Producer (IPP) Policy of Namibia.
An IPP is an entity which owns facilities to generate electric power for sale to utilities and end users.
The minister noted that the support from the private sector could also lessen the borrowing requirements of the national power utility (NamPower) and introduce generation technologies that may not be considered as part of the core generation options, but could play a vital role as part of future electricity supply options, in particular off-grid, embedded or distribute generation and small-scale renewable projects.
Kandjoze stressed that the introduction of private sector participation in electricity generation has multiple benefits, which will contribute greatly to the diversification of supply options, assist in the transfer of new skills and capital investments into the industry.
Based on the White Paper on Energy of 1998, the minister said in 2006 the Electricity Control Board (ECB) facilitated the process of developing the IPP and investment market framework to promote private sector participation in energy generation.
In support of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), the government will finalise the White Paper on Energy to promote independent power producers before June 2016.
The HPP has a strong emphasis on the development of IPP and renewable energy solutions.
“This is a worrisome situation and we are collectively challenged to do better than that. Therefore, to address this situation, I call upon all the stakeholders for your maximum collaboration in this project and its implementation plan,” Kandjoze said.
He said current government efforts that will complement the implementation of this project include the development of policies on energy as well as the National Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP).
The minister noted that Namibia has faced challenges, such as the IPP market in the country being quite small although the response is overwhelming. Access to the national grid also remains a challenge; while a lack of a centralised database is a serious drawback.
“We need to address Government's drive towards poverty eradication and promote more Namibian participation in the electricity supply sector. This is in line with the HHP,” he said.
Kandjoze noted that the country is in a very untenable situation of relying on imports of power for as much as 70 per cent of demand during some parts of the year.
He said this level of dependency can challenge the security of supply and economic growth in any country, thus Namibia wants a diversified mix of generation technologies that can quickly and efficiently address the country's energy challenges.
Namibia has only two IPP projects – the 4.5 megawatt (MW) Omburu Sun Energy near Omaruru and 5MW Hopsol Power Generation solar plant at Otjiwarongo.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the ECB.