The Electricity Control Board (ECB) in the last two years only issued a total of 13 Independent Power Producers (IPP) licenses under the Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFIT) program.
During the 2015/16 financial period ECB issued 10 IPP licenses while in the 2016/ 17 financial period it only issued 3 licenses to IPPs.
IPP licenses are only issued to Namibian registered companies, the Chief Executive Officer of ECB Foibe Namene has told The Villager.
“We only issues licenses to Namibian companies. Shareholding structures may differ but a minimum requirement of 30 % ownership by previously disadvantage Namibians is a requirement that was initiated for the interim REFIT programmes licensees specifically. Other licensees have their own voluntary previously disadvantage Namibians requirements,”she said.
She added that the industry strategic plan is to reduce the share of imported electricity over time and this will be achieved by the implementation of National Integrated Resources Plan (NIRP) approved in 2017.
The plan that sets out the country’s optimum generation procurement mix option up to 2036.
Namene further said that IPPs will be instrumental in implementing the generation mix options as identified in the NIRP.
“In its effort to reduce the imports share of our energy mix, NamPower has concluded 18 Power Purchase Agreements with an expected installed capacity of 171 MW over the past 36 months with local renewable energy IPPs. Nine of the IPPs with a combined capacity of 45MW have already commissioned their plants and and are feeding power into the national grid. Nine more IPPS are expected to commission their plants before end of the year and will be feeding in 126MW,” she said.
She added that in the medium term, the country will be importing substantial amounts of electricity from neighboring countries. This is to complement the energy mix to ensure that the new generating capacity made up of renewable energy which is intermittent in nature is covered by firm supply.
According to Namene, Regional Electricity Distributors (REDs) have also concluded two PPAs with IPPS with a combined capacity of 8MW and the two plant are already operational.
However, the ECB is faced with various challenges with regards to the issuing of licenses to IPPS that are internal and external.
“Industry related challenges include amongst others the ECB receiving applications in many instances that do not meet the requires standards; applications not having dedicated off-takers for the electricity which is one of the requirements in the application and some IPP applicants not having technical as well as financial means to carry out their intended projects,” Namene said.
She added that external challenges include, lack of access to funding on the local markets; limitation on the sizes of the proposed projects due to the size of the industry and access to local technical expertise.
The mines ministry in partnership with the ECB will continue with its awareness programmes and implementation process of the NIRP.