….as UN forecasts dominance of renewable energy
The Cabinet Committee on Trade and Economic Development has identified solar radiation, wind power Kudu Gas and long-term coal resources as Namibia major future energy sources.
This is contained in a highly confidential Cabinet document, seen by The Patriot.
Namibia`s electricity supply stands at 60% in short supply, hence the high prices on electricity.
Namibia spends at least N$2.6 billion to import electricity annually.
The high cost of electricity imports have also been blamed for Namibia’s high trade imbalance which has seen imports exceeding exports by close to N$26 billion.
“These future energy sources were solar radiation; wind power; off-shore natural gas such as the Kudu gas foreseen to provide 884 Mega Watt (MW) for at least fifteen (15) years; long-term coal resources at Van Eck coal-fired power station importable from South Africa and neighbouring countries; the large deposits of uranium; hydroelectric power plants such as the Baynes site of 600 MW on the Kunene River and the Ruacana Hydropower Station of 332 MW,” states the document.
The study also revealed that on demand forecast, peak demand was forecasted to increase from 597 MW in 2015 to 930 MW in 2025; and 1,330 MW by 2035. In the case of Low, Reference and High cases for the year 2035, this would range between 1,190 MW for the Low case to 1,330 MW for the Reference case to 1,500 MW for the High case.
The National Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP) a twenty (20) year development plan for Namibia`s electricity supply industry, commissioned in 2011 and developed in 2013. The plan provided a projection of Namibia`s expected future electricity demand in the short-term and long-term, spanning the period between 2016 and 2035.
The development, and review project carried out during 2015 and 2016, was sponsored by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and managed by the Electricity Control Board (ECB) found that Namibia has numerous future power supply options that could potentially be developed to meet its future electricity requirements at low costs. “During the preparation of the NIRP new plant options considered were short lead-time projects to meet the projected power demand and energy requirements without necessitating even the greater reliance on imports; projects to make additional use of Namibia`s abundant renewable energy resources and; longer lead-time base load generation projects,” the study has found.
The expansion scenario determined that the lowest direct long-term cost is energy generation in Namibia; use of indigenous resources; renewable energy; foreign exchange requirements; need for Government investment (such as Kudu, Conventional generation, Internal combustion reciprocating engines, Baynes hydroelectric project, Concentrated solar power, biomass, wind and solar PV and imports).
The study further noted that amongst the existing power plants Ruacana Hydropower Station was the largest electricity generating facility in Namibia, consisting of three 80 MW hydro generators and a fourth unit of 92 MW, with total installed of 332 MW; and with refurbishment completion by NamPower, the plant output will be approximately 347 MW. The Van Eck Coal Power Station Plant has a total name plate capacity of 120 MW using four 30 MW generators. The Anixas Power Station with three (3) Caterpillar V16 cylinder internal combustion reciprocating engine (ICRE) generator sets, each with a net electrical capacity of 7.5 MW for a total of 22.5 MW (gross). Paratus Power Station has a total rating of 24 MW using four 6 MW (nominal) ICRE generators, however, Nampower expects to retire the Paratus power station by 2018.
The study recommended that CCTED consider the NIRP; that a steering committee be appointed for the NIRP implementation; that Cabinet approve the NIRP.
The CCTED noted that Hydropower should not be a priority as there is already the Neckartal dam being built in the South to complement the Ruacana Hydropower plant.
The CCTED took note of the above-mentioned findings and directed the Minister of Mines and Energy to draft a Cabinet Agenda Memorandum on National Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP) to seek Cabinet endorsement of the Plan.
A new United Nations-backed report has revealed overwhelming consensus that renewable power will dominate in the future, with many experts saying that even large international corporations are increasingly choosing renewable energy products either from utilities or through direct investment in their own generating capacity. “[The report] is meant to spur discussion and debate about both the opportunities and challenges of achieving a 100 per cent renewable energy future by mid-century,” said Christine Lins, the Executive Secretary of Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) – a global renewable energy policy multi-stakeholder network hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
“Wishful thinking won’t get us there; only by fully understanding the challenges and engaging in informed debate about how to overcome them, can governments adopt the right policies and financial incentives to accelerate the pace of deployment,” she added.
At a press conference at UN Headquarters this week, Lins said that 2016 was the third year in a row where the global economy continued to grow, by three per cent, but emissions related to the energy sector decreased. And that was mainly due to renewable energy and efficiency investment in China and in the United States.
“And so, we actually really see that renewables are, on the one hand making their way into the energy systems of many countries, but also we see that we have come a long way. We have a 20 per cent of the world’s final energy consumption nowadays coming from renewables,” she added.
The Renewables Global Futures Report: Great debates towards 100 per cent renewable energy also noted that more than 70 per cent of the experts expressed that a global transition to 100 per cent renewable energy is both feasible and realistic, with European and Australian experts most strongly supporting this view.
The report also found that similar number expected the cost of renewables to continue to fall, beating all fossil fuels within the next ten years.
Noting some challenges in achieving the 100 per cent transition, the report mentioned that in some regions, most notably Africa, the US and Japan, experts were sceptical about reaching that figure in their own countries or regions by 2050, largely due to the vested interests of the conventional energy industry.
Also, the lack of long-term policy certainty and the absence of a stable climate for investment in energy efficiency and renewables hinder development in most countries, read the report.
“When REN21 was founded in 2004, the future of renewable energy looked very different than it does today,” noted Arthouros Zervos, the Chair of REN21, adding: “at that time, calls for 100 per cent renewable energy were not taken seriously, today the world’s leading energy experts are engaged in rational discussions about its feasibility, and in what time frame.” The REN21 report is based on interviews with 114 renowned energy experts from all regions of the world.
In addition to governments, REN21 also includes international organizations, industry associations, science and academia and the civil society, as well as UN agencies including the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).