Namibia Power Corporation Ltd (NamPower), the national electric power utility of the country, has announced to issue a tender for a 50MW-130MW concentrated solar power (CSP) project coupled with battery storage in 2022.
At the recently held 2021 SolarPACES Conference, Grant Muller, the Head of Nampower generation project laid out the company’s plan for the CSP project in Namibia. Nampower is ready for its first CSP project after four years of preparation.
The expenditure on the proposed project is expected between $600 million to $1 billion. Muller noted that the CSP project should be designed to target the need during peak times to provide the best complementarity to daytime solar PV, and during hydropower’s dry season. Hence adding a second dispatchable renewable with hydropower, would best round out a renewable grid system.
NamPower envisions the plan of “built, own, operate, and transfer” that would transfer to the utility during the running period of 25 years, procured through a PPP process under Namibia’s new Public-Private Partnership Act. NamPower hopes tariff to be under 8 cents per kWh, though it may vary with the size, storage, and dispatch times. The subsidies are not planned yet.
The envisaged policy design is a hybrid between two successful projects, Morocco’s MASEN model and the South African REIPPP model. Like MASEN, the development is de-risked by NamPower, which has already located a few sites with enough solar energy resources and over a 3 years period of measured DNI using satellite and ground measurement data. But the developer will arrange their financing, unlike MASEN. Similar to the REIPPP, NamPower requires local content.
The developer is also responsible for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the power lines. NamPower also looks to reduce the development costs of the project to reduce the energy price paid by the consumer.
NamPower will now procure the successful bidder and developer under the PPP Act and help the winning bidder in obtaining the required approvals clearances and permits for the project development, to off-take the power produced, and supervise project compliance to performance and contractual obligations.
Namibia is rich in solar energy resources with the DNI range of 3214 kWh per square meter annually. Among the total installed energy capacity of the country, 517 MW is supplied by renewables including solar PV, wind, and hydropower. Currently, Namibia receives power from neighboring South Africa’s coal-heavy grid. Also, it has a coal energy capacity of 122 MW. The country has set the target to lessen its dependence on imports and coal and increase its resilience in its renewable energy grid.