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Pan-African independent power producer Emerging Markets Energy Services Company (EMESCO) has received approval from the Namibian authorities to develop a large-scale solar power plant in the southern part of the country. The power produced will be fed into the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
The 125 MWp solar PV plant will be developed in the town of Karasburg in the Karas region. Schonau Solar Energy, a subsidiary of EMESCO, has been granted licenses by the Electricity Control Board of Namibia (ECB) for the construction of the power plant.
The total cost of the solar project is estimated at $105 million. The state-owned company Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) will coordinate the selling of the plant’s output to the SAPP.
The solar power plant will be built under the ‘Modified Single Buyer Scheme’, a new market platform in the energy industry in Namibia, which represents a modification in the existing market structure. The framework set up by the government encourages power producers to invest in renewable energy and sell their output to the national utility. This allows EMESCO to generate electricity in Namibia and sell it to the regional common market SAPP.
Pinehas Mutota, the ECB’s Director General of Economic Regulation, said. “We are confident that the MSB will contribute to the government’s objectives of making Namibia an energy exporter. The issuance of production and export licenses to Schonau and other players is an indication and commitment by the Namibian government to contribute to the reduction of the energy deficit in the region.”
The SAPP, a cooperation between the state-owned power companies of 12 Southern African countries, is under the auspices of the Southern African Development Authority (SADC). Until now, the sub-regional cooperation has only brought together the public utilities of member countries, but now it is increasingly opening up to private companies such as EMESCO.