30 Jun 2016 16:50pm
WINDHOEK, 30 JUN (NAMPA) - Fourteen Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have signed Power Purchase Agreements with Namibian power utility, NamPower, to supply a total of 70 Mega Watts (mw) of renewable energy in the next 18 months.
The Electricity Control Board Chief Executive Officer (ECB) Foibe Namene announced on Thursday during a media briefing that 14 IPPs will invest a combined amount of approximately N.dollars 1.6 billion in the electricity supply industry and ultimately in the Namibian economy.
Thirteen of these IPPs have opted to invest in solar photovoltaic projects, while one intends generating electricity using wind.
She said HopSol Otjozondjupa is one of the first among the 14 IPPs to have commenced operations on Tuesday.
The Otjozondjupa Solar Park by HopSol Namibia is the largest grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and is expected to supply close to 14 000mw hours of electricity per year to NamPower, enough to power 3 700 households.
Namibia continues to import a large share of electricity, at times up to 70 per cent of electricity requirements, from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, depending on the availability of water at the Ruacana Hydro-power Station.
In addressing the quest to move away from dependency and increase internal generation and ensure security, government has embarked on the development of the National Integrated Resources Plan (NIRP), Energy Policy, IPP policy and renewable energy policy to ensure that new generation projects are brought online in a coordinated manner.
Namene said programmes such as Interim Renewable Energy Feed in Tariffs (Refit) (70mw), Hardap Solar PV Tender (37mw), and several unsolicited projects (64mw) will bring in an additional capacity of more than 150mw to the national grid.
The current substantial shortage of energy in southern Africa is putting pressure on energy tariffs in most SADC countries.
Tariff increases mean a rise in the cost of living and production, and the potential to jeopardise job creation and poverty alleviation.
She said in mitigating the impact of high electricity tariffs and improving electrification in Namibia, the ECB in conjunction with the Ministry of Mines and Energy developed national support mechanisms.
One of them is the National Electricity Support Tariff Mechanism, which intended to make electricity affordable through a subsidised tariff to household consumers on connection capacity below 15 Amps.
Another support mechanism is for improving rural and urban electrification and is intended to assist distribution licences to substantially electrify households in urban and rural Namibia.
The mechanisms are approved by the Minister of Mines and Energy Obeth Kandjoze, and have already been submitted to Cabinet for endorsement.
Meanwhile, the ECB announced on Thursday during the same media briefing that it approved NamPower's application for an increase in bulk electricity tariffs by 16,71 per cent as from Friday.