Namibia: Electricity supply industry must be futuristic

Power Transmission10 March 2014, Windhoek – The electricity supply industry has been asked to be innovative in the implementation of power generating projects to address the current challenges facing the country.

This urging was done by the Minister of Mines and Energy Isak Katali during the three-day conference of the Association of Electricity Distribution Utilities in Namibia that is also a branch of the Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities Southern Africa (AMEU). The conference started in Swakopmund last week Wednesday and ended on Friday.

The purpose of the branch meeting was to offer a platform for government to share policies and guidelines in the industry with members of the organization, the regional electricity distributors and municipalities that distribute electricity. This year’s conference was held under the theme “Innovative Electricity” to detail the need for new and innovative ideas and technologies to be considered for a sustainable growing electricity supply industry.

According to Katali, power generation in the Southern African region has become strained amid calls for the speedy implementation of new projects to ensure future adequacy. “Therefore being innovative has become a viable option to ensure the industry can comply with requirements set for it. Issues at hand include ensuring adequate generation capacity, adequate networks to transmit and distribute power, demand side management, effective control over the industry, pricing of electricity and ensuring a good standard of service to customers,” Katali explained.

He added that due to the long lead times for conventional generation projects, alternatives were identified such as PV solar generation, wind power and small-scale hydro projects.

“These are renewable energy generation technologies that offer faster implementation to help cover the short-term shortfalls until larger conventional generation plants can be completed. It also offers the customer an opportunity to engage in generation together with their additional resources of financing, space and short implementation times,” the minister said.

He added that the Kudu gas power project has been identified as the conventional generation plant of choice for implementation and is expected to be completed in 2018.

According to the minister, NamPower, is constantly engaging in power purchase options in the SADC region to ensure an adequate supply of power to customers and would continue to do so until own generation is able to carry the electrical load in the country.

“The success of NamPower in this area indicates the value of and good relations Namibia enjoys with neighbouring countries. It is quite clear that the electricity industry is undergoing changes to ensure sustainability.

“The challenges are therefore clear and warrant action from the industry. Therefore I am urging you to forward the task of creating innovative solutions. It is important for Namibia to take on this task to ensure a world-class industry where investment and economic growth can be promoted and sustained towards Vision 2030,” the minister said.


– Eveline Klerk, New Era

About the Author