Government and development partners have secured about US$5m (approximately N$57m for the planning phase of the Concentrating Solar Power Technology Transfer for Electricity Generation in Namibia project (CSP TT).
United Nation Development Programme and (UNDP) in partnership with Global Environment Facility (GEF) said the partners are still to decide on the location of their project.
The National Project Coordinator and Technical Advisor for the Project, Shimweefeleni Hamutwe JR confirmed that the project only commenced last year, adding that accordingly only a proportional amount has been used so far.
He added that they are commencing the feasibility study this year that will concurrently be done with resource mobilisation and added investment promotion initiatives.
The feasibility study will build on the outcomes of the pre-feasibility study concluded by Ministry of Mines and Energy in 2012.
“A 50-100MW is to cost approximately N$3 billion hence those heavy loads of undertakings to ensure the CSP plant investment. The planning phase of the project will be implemented through collaboration and funding co-financing through contributions for that budget by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, (GEF) through United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower), National Energy Institute (NEI) amongst others,” said Humutwe Jr.
Hamutwe JR noted that major expenditures for this phase will actually start from this year.
“In addition we have lined up major capacity and partnership development programmes for local entrepreneurs so as to capacitate them to be able to participate in the actual construction of the first CSP plant in Namibia; the project has a major technology transfer component for the local industry,” he noted.
He added that, “However, we will only be able to narrow down to the exact site(s) after the completion of full feasibility studies that we are commencing with beginning of this year.”
Hamutwe added that the electricity supply needs in the country cannot be reliably fulfilled through one or two sources of generation as there is always a risk such as system breakdowns.
“Strategic diversification of electricity generation technologies and sources options in any country is therefore one of the recommended strategies in addition to demand-side management programmes that can be rolled out. Such strategies one can say in a way would contribute to reliable security of supply of electricity in any country,” he added.
Managing Director at Nampower, Paulinus Shilamba added that despite the slight experienced delay, the project is moving forward.
He added that the project includes an agreement between Ministry of Mines and Energy, NamPower, NEI (National Energy Institute) and the Electricity Control Board on the governance structure of the project.
“Agreement between MME and NamPower on work division; in this regard an agreement between MME and NamPower is finalised. NamPower will be implementing two of the three outcomes identified in the CSP TT NAM project; these outcomes include the development of a bankable solar resource map for Namibia and to implement the first CSP power station in Namibia,” said Shilamba.
NamPower has incorporated and merged the deliverables under the CSP TT NAM project with a fully-fledged CSP feasibility study and has procured supplementary funds for the CSP TT. The additional funds are sourced from NamPower’s own resources as well as from the EU’s Sustainability for All (SE4All) fund.
Shilamba added that they may not be able to meet the target date to complete the plant by 2017 due to delays but 2018 will be more realistic.
“Considering that typically the construction periods on CSP projects with storage range from 28 to 36 months once the project has reached financial close and NamPower and MME are investigating an optional timeframe to conclude the feasibility study. The project capacity and size will be informed by the Namibian electricity requirements,” added Shilamba.