An outlook on Solar Energy in Namibia
Hello and a happy Wednesday to all my network members.
Today I am excited to talk about Solar Energy in Namibia and what the future holds for this sector.
Countries world-wide are continuously feeling the burn of climate change and in this regard Namibia is certainly not a big polluter, yet it is one of the country’s mostly affected by severe weather conditions, aka global warming. Logical resource management is a major factor to consider when a country aims to practice sustainable development and this is where energy supply and consumption become relevant.
Noteworthy risks that affect not only Namibians and the country’s economy, but also the future development of the country, include:
- Ever increasing energy prices;
- Inadequate electricity supplies;
- Reliance on foreign energy sources.
If Namibia is determined to achieve the development goals stipulated in the Vision 2030, sustainable energy supplies are a necessary cornerstone underpinning that vision, while being the basis for continued social peace and cohesion within society.
Namibia is comprised of abundant natural resources required for energy supplies, especially in regard to the resources from the sun, wind and biomass from invader bush. Sustainable development can only be safeguarded, if, amongst others, a country’s energy supplies are and remain sustainable.
Solar Energy in Namibia | Strategy
Raw Solar was invited to Namibia to investigate the potential to partner Youth Services in building a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant on a site near the Orange River.
This site is a world class CSP location, with legal water rights from the Orange River and some of the highest irradiation levels in the world. As Namibia currently imports over 60% of its electricity from neighbours with acute supply shortages, it is looking to secure local supply. With the world’s highest levels of solar irradiation, along with world’s lowest population density, the government is keen to embrace solar and off-grid micro-generation.
The primary objectives of the services related to the pre-feasibility study relate to the work needed for the development and construction of a utility scale Photovoltaic and concentrated Solar Plant that will deliver on the following key objectives:
- Offering an affordable and combined national roll-out for solar energy in Namibia comprising a mix of different solar technologies to reduce peak demand in a way that enables solar to become a material part of Namibia’s energy mix that is affordable.
- Refining Namibia’s security of electricity supplythrough the generation and dispatching of electricity at the lowest price in terms of Levelised Electricity Cost (LEC).
The project found that the original pure solar cross-subsidization strategy would only work if the solar strategy was supplemented with utility scale co-generation – using stranded natural gas. Following this stranded natural gas to solar strategy would result in significant savings on imports for the utility provider, while ensuring long term local ownership of the plant as well as a carbon fund, which finance the gradually phasing out of natural gas so that the plant became a solar pure-play after two decades.
The carbon fund would also enable the investment of $12 per $1 invested in the natural gas initial investment in off-grid and urban electricity access on a non-profit basis. This will ensure that the 70% of Namibians who do not currently have electricity, would get a minimum of 4 hours of light, the ability to charge a mobile phone and listen to the radio, within two years of the natural gas plant being completed.