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N$5.3bInvested In Renewable Energy Generation

By:Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus
From 2014, local and foreign investors have poured in N$5,3 billion to generate electricity from alternative/renewable sources in the country, the Electricity Control Board’s (ECB) Chief Executive Officer, Robert Kahimise, said.
The N$5,3 billion includes investment by the independent power producers (IPPs) under Namibia’s Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (REFIT), together with NamPower’s renewable projects.
It also includes other IPPs projects, rooftop projects and net metering investments.
The ECB has also highlighted that about N$480 million are for projects under construction.
Earlier this year the board also highlighted that the majority of the renewable energy projects are all geared towards solar energy (24), and only one so far is generating power using wind energy.
Up to date the regulator have issued 45 energy generation licences to IPPs and 25 are currently operational and contributing 176 Megawatts to the grid.
The ECB has also highlighted that for those who wish to acquire a generating licence, the turnaround time for a complete licence application is three months (90 days). While substandard applications can take about 6 months due to clarifications.
With ample sunshine and wind resources at the coast, it has been indicated that Namibia has the potential to generate significant energy from its renewable sources for local consumption and for export.
The abundant renewable sources can also fill the country’s significant generation deficit, which led to the country importing around 70% of its power from Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the Southern Africa Power Pool.
Some 45 generation licences were issued, mostly for solar while other 17 generation licences are being reviewed by the regulator. This has unlocked a high demand for various components required for solar and wind stations.
The ECB was also asked if some of the components can be assembled in the country to create jobs and assist in the country’s value addition aspirations.
Kahimise explained that it is “unfortunate that we do not have large manufacturing that would be able to produce and assemble the components in Namibia”.
The Board has confirmed that it will be beneficial if some of the required renewable energy components can be assembled or manufactured domestically.
“In the absence of that industry, the ECB is in no position to insist or prescribe on domestication,” Kahimisesaid.
The ECB wants to ensure some local ownership within the renewable sector.Under the REFIT programme, it is a requirement that 30% of the operating licences be locally owned.
Kahimise has, however, clarified that the IPP licences that are not under REFIT do not subscribe to the same conditions unless perhaps the tender process requires it.
The Board has also indicated that under the Modified Single Buyer (MSB) Market make provision for the wheeling of electricity.
Wheeling is the act of transporting electricity from a generator to a remotely located end-user through the use of an existing distribution or transmission system.
This means power can be generated near the source and the electricity can be transported to qualifying customers anywhere in the country or exported to neighbouring countries using the transmission network.
Kahimise explained that a wheeling methodology that ensured that tariffs are unbundled has been developed by the ECB.
He said the country wheeling method provides a transparent, fair and practical framework for the determination and implementation of wheeling services and charges for the utilisation of the country’s transmission and distribution network.
Kahimise highlighted that no wheeling charges for local customers provided that they are already paying for the transmission infrastructure.
This means sourcing power from a different source apart from Nampower comes with no extra cost if you are an existing customer connected to the grid- especially those sourcing their 30% power need as allowed by the MSB rules.
However, those planning to export to the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), they will be charged at the SAPP applicable wheeling tariffs.
The ECB has indicated that many IPPs investors want to export their power given the local small economy.
The regulator has issued 9 Exporting licences that will make use of the wheeling framework to transport/evacuate their power.
Kahimise also updated The Villager that his team is busy evaluating generations of licence applications that intend to sell their power to contestable customers in the country where wheeling will be applicable. Email:

Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus

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