25 June 2019

Namibia: Nam Exports 6 Percent of Its Power Generation

Namibia exported 10 125 megawatt per hour of electricity in March this year. During the same period, the country sold 338 207 megawatt per hour in Namibia. During the review period,161 498 megawatt per hour (MWh) of electricity was locally generated, while 227 721 MWh was imported.

This export figure translated to 6,3% of the locally generated electricity during March.

This was according to the Namibia Statistics Agency's (NSA)'s electricity report for March, released recently.

Experts have said before that Namibia has the potential to become a net exporter of electricity, as opposed to being a net importer, once the country takes advantage of the resources available.

In 2018 alone, Namibia imported 73% of its electricity needs, the highest figure since independence, deputy mines and energy minister Kornelia Shilunga said last week.

The deputy minister said at the inauguration of the 37 megawatt (MW) Hardap Solar Photovoltaic (PV) plant, that it is imperative for the country to strengthen local generation to reduce dependency on external sources.

Between 1990 and 2009, the average annual power imports stood at 48%, and dropped to 38% between 2010 and 2017.

Shilunga added that last year's high power imports were due to the drought experienced in the Southern African region, which affected generation at the Ruacana power station, as well as the availability of cheap energy on the day-ahead market.

The day-ahead energy market allows participants to commit to buying or selling wholesale electricity a day before the operating day, to help avoid price volatility.

Additionally, the NSA report showed that the electricity sales composite index (ESoCI) encompassing domestic and export sales for March stood at 155,8 basis points, compared to 149,7 basis points in February 2019.

"This represents an increase of 4,1% month-on-month (m-o-m), and a decline of 1,8% year-on-year (y-o-y). The domestic sales sub-index recorded 155,9 basis points in March, compared to 149,5 basis points recorded in February 2019, showing an increase of 4,3% m-o-m, and a decrease of 2,2% y-o-y," said the report.

It added that the export sales sub-index stood at 153 basis points in the review period, compared to 156,3 basis points recorded in February. This showed a decline of 2,1% m-o-m, and an increase of 14,9% y-o-y.

The ESoCI encompassing own generated and import sources stood at 122,1 basis points in March, compared to the February 116,7 basis points, an increase of 4,6% m-o-m, and a decline of 6,2% y-o-y.

The NSA report noted that the own generation sub-index was elevated, recording 143,4 basis points in March 2019, compared to 109,5 basis points seen in February. This was a 30,9% m-o-m increase, and a decline of 24,7% y-o-y.

"The decrease on a yearly basis is attributed to the slowdown in the generation of electricity mainly obtained from Ruacana, and the Momentous One Solar independent power producer Power Station," they said.

Moreover, the import sub-index recorded 110,4 basis points in the review period, compared to 120,6 basis points recorded in the previous month, a decrease of 8,5% m-o-m, and an increase of 13,6% yearly, "which increase over the year in electricity imports was mainly due to the increase of the electricity imported from Eskom's Aggeneis power station."

- charmaine@namibian.com.na; Twitter: Char_Ngatjiheue.

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