Namibia called to prioritise solar, wind energy over hydropower

Namibia has been urged to prioritise solar and wind energy as the primary sources of power due to their cost-effectiveness and resilience in the face of climate change.

According to a recent energy investment study conducted by TMP Public Consultancy, a UK consultancy, solar and wind, combined with energy storage, should form the largest share of Namibia's energy future, making up 70% and 77% of the country's installed capacity by 2030 and 2040, respectively.

Emphasising the feasibility of a swift rollout of solar and wind projects in Namibia, the study points out the sources’ lower financial and sustainability costs in comparison to hydropower alternatives.

"Rapid rollout of solar and wind is feasible in Namibia, with lower financial and sustainability costs than hydropower alternatives. In spite of large land requirements, they can be more easily collocated alongside existing land uses, like agriculture or mining," the study reveals.

Similarly, it states "that their modular nature means they can be sited closer to areas of demand, and according to specific demand requirements, thus reducing the need for extensive grid infrastructure that is often required for large hydropower."

However, the study raises concerns regarding the viability of pursuing hydropower projects, particularly the Baynes project. 

The report further highlights the project's susceptibility to delays due to high social and environmental risks, potentially causing setbacks of up to 14 years.

"Solar and wind options are both financially more competitive than hydropower, and they can be developed in less than half the time. The 37MW Hardap PV project was developed within two years and provides electricity at less than half the cost expected from Baynes," the study said, emphasising the economic advantages of solar and wind technologies. 

Regarding costs, the report underscores a significant disparity between the Baynes project and existing domestic wind and solar alternatives raising concerns about energy affordability for the population.

"Electricity from Baynes will conservatively cost 66-166% more than existing local wind and solar alternatives by the time it comes online in 2031. These high costs are likely to drive up the cost of electricity for Namibia's energy consumers," the report states. 

The findings of the TMP report firmly advocate a shift towards solar and wind energy as Namibia's preferred power sources.

"The renewable technologies offer cost-effectiveness, shorter development timelines, and reduced social and environmental risks compared to large-scale hydropower projects like Baynes," the report asserts.

The Baynes Hydroelectric Power Station is a planned 600-megawatt hydroelectric power plant located at Namibia's northwest border with Angola. 

The project carries a construction budget of US$1.2 billion and is scheduled to commence in 2023, with completion anticipated in 2029. Following its implementation, both Angola and Namibia are expected to utilise 300 megawatts each from the power station.






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Last modified on Thursday, 27 July 2023 13:32

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