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The Scramble for Electricity…Zambia to become the power saviour

By: Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus
Three countries of the Southerm African Development Community (SADC) are facing power
problems as their internal power generation capacities fail to meet local demand. As a result,
they will be competing to grab excess power in the region.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency's (NSA) Electricity Sectoral Report, Namibia’s
domestic generation has dwindled to below 90 000 megawatt hour (MWh) for September and
October 2022 despite the country's peak hour demand of around 600 000MWh.
This comes as some neighbouring countries are struggling with power generation.
Zimbabwe has joined South Africa in rationing electricity to its citizens and businesses.
With Namibia's local generation dwindling, the three countries will be competing for power from
Zambia and Mozambique.
The NSA;s report shows that for the months of September and October 2022, Namibia only
managed to generate 87 212 MWh and 81 558 MWh, respectively. As a result, the country's
electricity import for October 2022 shot up to 278 245 MWh for the year.
As of October most of Namibia's power was sourced from Zesco in Zambia, accounting for
47.8%. This was followed by Eskom Agencies in South Africa (18.6%), Day-Ahead Market-
SAPP (15.8%), and ZPC Zimbabwe (13.3%).
For September 2022, Namibia sourced its 259 414 MWh mainly from Zesco in Zambia (50.0%),
followed by Eskom Agencies in South Africa (19.9%), Day-Ahead Market-SAPP (12.7%).
Zesco has seemed to dethroned Eskom as the pain supply of power to Namibia as the historical
figures show.
Despite their domestic generation demises the southern region countries – Namibia, South Africa
and Zimbabwe – still sell some portion to each other in fulfilment of contracts and to capitalise
on the high margins.
As for Namibia, the country only managed to export 2 238 MWh in October 2022 and 4 507
MWh for the preceding months, the lowest export MWh for the past two years.
The lower the local generation, the more the country has to go in the region for power sourcing.
The last time Namibia generated 200 000MWh or more this year was in April 2022, which was
265 053 MWh.
As a result, the country's power custodian Nampower has been importing around 250 000MWh
monthly this year, except for April.

More competition is now coming from Zimbabwe after its hydropower source was stopped due
to low water level flow.
Just like Namibia, Zimbabwe has a high dependence on its hydropower after some of its coal
sources were decommissioned. As a result, it is now reported that Zimbabwe plans to import
500MWh of power from neighbouring Mozambique and Zambia, thus providing tough
competition to the crisis-hit South Africa which is also competing for the same power to shore up
its shortfall.
It has been reported that Zimbabwe has already spent over US$1 billion in imports over the last
decade but financing for renewable energy remains low.
As for Namibia, it has been indicated that the country spend between N$4-5 billion on electricity
annually, which usually goes to South Africa.
Furthermore, the dwindling local generation is met with high sales of electricity from local
The sectoral report shows that domestic electricity sales have been 300 000 MWh or close, a
better performance compared to 2020 and 2021- which indicates the level of economic activities


According to the NSA’s electricity sectoral reports, own generation recorded a decline of 6.5%
in October 2022, while in the preceding month of September a 14.0% reduction was recorded.
During October 2022, the local production of electricity stood at 81 558 MWh and 54.5% (44
426 MWh) of this was generated by the country's golden hen for electricity, Ruacana Power
Namibia has been lauded to have the best renewable energy sources and it even managed to
attract hydrogen production possibilities due to these abundant sources. However, these abundant
sources are yet to de-risk the country from the Ruacana Power high dependence and reduce
Namibia's energy imports.
For October's local generation, the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) that are utilising
renewable sources collectively generated 31 267 MWh (38.3%) of electricity.
Omburu Solar power, which is one of the big investments in renewable energy generation,
contributed 6.5% as an individual IPP.
No electricity was generated from Van Eck Power Station during October 2022 due to ongoing
maintenance operations.
For September 2022 the IPPs collectively generated 29 339 MWh (33.6%) of electricity.

The IPPs are yet to take the burden for local generation and to reduce the country's power import
significantly. Email:

Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus

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