5 December 2017

Namibia Does Not Have Electricity Security

THE auditor general's office has ordered the mines ministry and the Electricity Control Board (ECB) to implement planned projects aimed at increasing electricity supply and reduce over-reliance on imports.

This was reflected in a performance audit report on the capacity of electricity generation and imports in Namibia within the mines and energy ministry for the years 2013 to 2016.

The report compiled by Elroy Baldwin Strauss, Victoria Ndapandula Perasius and Cicero Julian Links, who are all officials from the auditor general's office, was submitted to the National Assembly last month.

The report stated that the current electricity generation in the country does not meet the current electricity demand in the country, neither will it meet the future electricity demand, therefore there was no security of electricity supply in the country.

Currently, Namibia imports over 70% of its electricity demand from other countries, while several projects aimed at increasing electricity generation in the country are now on hold.

NamPower, which is responsible for electricity generation and distribution in the country, currently only depends on five power stations that are only generating 518 MW, while importing over 750 MW.

Several reports earlier this year indicated that government spends at least N$2,6 billion to import electricity annually. The high cost of electricity imports has been blamed for Namibia's high trade imbalance which has seen imports exceeding exports by close to N$26 billion.

This includes government's plans to construct a Kudu Gas project and several plans to improve renewable electricity resources such as the Baynes Hydro Power Plant which is "still in the planning process".

The Namibian reported on several occasions that the Kudu Gas project has been put on hold due to a shortage of funds and the progress made at the site. The project is expected to generate about 800MW.

The auditor's report came just a week after the Swapo party proposed possible plans for the government to invest in a nuclear power plant to increase electricity generation in the country.

The plan was revealed at the Swapo party sixth elective congress as part of the party's resolutions that will also form part of government's implementation policies.

This also included plans and deadlines set for the government to implement the Kudu Gas project by 2020.

The proposed foundation of nuclear power generation would be set by relentlessly pursuing a policy of "selecting, training and developing professionals in the nuclear field".

The party also wants the government to adopt a proportional energy mix policy, and give ultimatums to generation licence holders to set up power plants or face the revocation of licences if they fail to comply.

The auditor report stated that over 1000 (85%) of the generation licences issued during the period of review was found not operational due to lack of power purchase agreements.

"This may result in low electricity generation, hampering the security of supply in the country. This might discourage potential investors that might be interested in investing in the electricity supply industry," the report stated.

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