The Electricity Control Board (ECB) expects the newly introduced Modified Single Buyer (MSB) framework to add 450 megawatts of solar power to the national generation capacity, once fully implemented.
The MSB is a new market platform for the electricity industry in Namibia and it builds incrementally on the existing Single Buyer (SB) model i.e. it represents a modification of the existing market structure. Introduced in 2019, MSB allows large electricity customers to buy up to 30 percent of their demand directly from an Independent Power Producer (IPP) rather than from NamPower.
The MSB further provides an opportunity for the deployment of new generation technologies such as battery storage.
“About 450 MW is an additional capacity (solar photovoltaic equivalent) that will be added to national generation capacity through MSB,” said ECB Chief Executive Officer Foibe Namene.
The ECB estimates that there are more than 20 large power users in the country, which includes mines, local authorities, regional distributors, and farms. Some have already applied to the ECB to be able to source 30% of their power from individual power producers of their choice, provided they are connected to the main grid.
The ECB believes that allowing large consumers to source their energy elsewhere rather than only from NamPower will ensure the continued flow of investments into local electricity generation as they will be guaranteed customers.
Namibia currently has 25 solar photovoltaic generation plants and one wind farm outside Lüderitz, in operation. IPPs and NamPower jointly produce 643, 3MW of power. Of this total generation only 183, 8MW is produced by IPPs, through Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) with NamPower.
According to the ECB data, 20 IPPs have invested N$2, 7 billion towards electricity generation in the country in the last five years.
Namibia aims to meet its total energy needs within the next few years with solar playing a key role towards attaining this target. Namibia has one of the highest solar radiation in the world, which makes it conducive to adding more solar generation plants.
Namene said the National Integrated Resources Plan (NIRP) outlines the country’s aim to diversify its energy sources for electricity generation, including renewable energy sources. As a result, a ministerial determination was issued in 2019 to add an additional 220MW to the country’s generation capacity, with NamPower to add 150MW, and individual power producers 70MW.
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