WINDHOEK - Without sufficient and affordable supply of electricity, crucial economic contributors, such as the mining sector, will not be able to operate optimally. For instance, of the more than 4 000 gigawatt hours (GWh) the country consumed in 2018, a significant portion, or just over 1 400 GWh, was consumed by the mining sector.
“Our concern in this respect is that we are still importing a too significant amount of electricity and we are working hard to reverse this situation. Our current generation plan will ensure that by 2022 at least 80 percent of our electricity consumption must be generated locally. Over the years we were able to attract independent power producers (IPPs) to invest in electricity generation and we will continue to do so,” said Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, during the recent Mining Expo and Conference.
Alweendo noted that as an additional step to attract more IPPs, government recently introduced a significant change in how electricity generated by IPPs is sold.
Currently all IPPs are required to negotiate and sign a power purchase agreement with NamPower because it alone is allowed to purchase electricity from IPPs. As from September this will change when IPPs are allowed to sell their electricity directly to large buyers such as mining companies.
Chief executive officer of the Electricity Control Board, Foibe Namene, explained that the main change to the current Single Buyer Model will allow electricity consumers and IPPs to transact with each other directly to secure their electricity supplies.
“We believe that the recent cabinet approval of the Modified Single Buyer Market Model (MSB) for the industry will attract more independent power producers (IPPs) and promote investment,” said Namene.
She added that the Electricity Control Board and the electricity supply industry are constantly looking for means and mechanisms to reduce tariffs and make electricity more affordable.
“We are cognisant of the fact that the economy is highly dependent on reliable and affordable electricity supply. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the regulator to ensure a sustainable electricity industry at affordable tariffs,” Namene emphasised.