African Nation Namibia to Tender 50-130MW CSP Project Next Year

Highlights :

  • At the recently held SolarPACES Conference, NamPower generation projects head Grant Muller laid out the national power company’s now finalized plans for a CSP project in Namibia, for between 50 MW and 130 MW, with storage.
  • After 4 years of preparations, the country is ready for its first CSP auction in 2022.

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Namibia Power Corporation Ltd (NamPower), the national electric power utility company of the African country Namibia, is planning to issue a tender for a 50MW-130MW concentrated solar power (CSP) with storage project in 2022.

The project is expected to require investment of US$600mn-US$1bn, with a target commissioning date set for 2025.
The plans were revealed by NamPower Generation Projects Head Grant Muller at the recent SolarPACES online conference.

The small African nation of Namibia is said to have some of the best solar resource in the world with Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) ranging up to 3214 kWh per square meter annually (3,214 kWh/m2a).

Muller said the project was planned to be developed under a build, own, operate, transfer (BOOT) model under Namibia’s new Public Private Partnership (PPP) Act. The selected developer will develop the plant and then sign a 25-year offtake agreement.
Namibia currently has an installed capacity of 680MW for its 2.5 million people, with 517MW of this coming from renewable energy resources and 122MW from coal-fired generation. Namibia also imports electricity from neighbouring South Africa’s coal-heavy grid.

Namibia now aims to lessen dependence on imports and coal and increase resilience in its renewable grid. NamPower is agnostic on the core CSP technology, except that it must be dry cooled. Muller is hoping the expected tariff would be below 8 cents/kWh (USD) but this would depend on size and storage and dispatch times. No subsidies are planned.

At the SolarPACES online conference, he noted that ideally, the CSP project should be designed to target peak times of need to provide the best complementarity to daytime solar PV, and during hydropower’s dry season, which is from April to October, in the Southern hemisphere winter. So the addition of a second dispatchable renewable in addition to the hydropower, would best round out a renewable grid system.

He described the envisaged policy design as a hybrid between the very successful MASEN model in Morocco, and the REIPPP model in South Africa. Like MASEN, the development is de-risked by NamPower. which has already located several sites with excellent solar resource and over a three year period has measured the DNI using satellite and ground measurement data. By thus reducing development costs Muller expects to reduce the energy price paid by the consumer. The next step is to set up the RfP for 2022, he said.

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