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Namibia has Africa’s third highest electrification level at 20%. The electrical sector in Namibia has the potential to become the driving force behind economic development. Rural electrification of over 250,000 households in order to improve social conditions aims to be completed by end of 2010.

Electricity in Namibia is generated mainly by thermal, hydroelectric power plants and other non-conventional methods of electricity generation that also play some role.

The Ruacana Hydroelectric station on the Kunene River generates electricity in Namibia of which excess is exported to South Africa. The coal-fired, Van Eck, thermal station at Windhoek also supplies the country with electricity together with small diesel units around the country. In the north, wood is the main source of energy and biomass is the main fuel. Wind power and solar energy can also be harnessed as other energy sources. Two wind measurement stations have been installed at Walvis Bay and Luderitz and a solar measurement station at Noordoewer. Solar energy is vital in supplying power to distant places.

Namibia is highly dependent on electricity imports from South Africa and the government has recently stated that it aims to meet 100% of the peak demand with locally produced power by 2010. Generation from within the country has become increasingly difficult as coal import prices have increased and the flow in the Kunene has been variable, making hydro generation unpredictable.

Namibia is a member of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), a cooperation of the national electricity companies in Southern Africa under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The members of SAPP have created common power grid between their countries and a common market for electricity in the SADC region.

Namibia Electricity Utilities

Local authorities distribute electricity and Northern Electricity operates and manages electricity supply in the north. The establishment of an Electricity Act in conjunction with an Electricity Board will serve to regulate and improve the efficiency of the sector. The Electricity Control Board is a statutory regulatory authority responsible for regulating electricity generation, transmission, distribution, supply, import and export in Namibia.

NamPower is the national power utility company of Namibia. It was founded in 1964 as the "South West Africa Water and Electricity Corporation" (SWAWEK) by the government of South Africa. It supplies electricity to the mining and industrial sectors as well as the rural parts of the country.

Three Norwegian oil companies were exploring an offshore area of 11,000 sq km (4,250 sq mi) in the early 1990s. The government conducted a round of licensing in 1995 in which all available offshore and onshore blocks were opened for international bidding.

Plans & Projects

NamPower has embarked on a number of projects which will execute its plan to increase electricity generating capacity and supply in the country.

As early as 1991, NamPower, in partnership with Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, had begun working on implementing the Rural Electrification Program. The aim of the project is to make electrical power accessible and available to the rural population of the country and to provide opportunities for economic development. At the end of 2003, about 80 more villages and settlement areas had already received electrical power at the cost of N$50 million. These included communities that are situated in the vicinities of Omasati, Okangwati, Koës, Koichab Pan, Tsinsabis, Kalkfeld, Omatako, Karas, Osjikoto, Stampriet Wes and the Maize triangle has now been included in NamPower's electricity grid.

NamPower has also been working on the Kudu Power project. This project entails the development of the Kudu gas fields, which is situated 170km from Oranjemund in the Atlantic Ocean, and a power station powered by the Kudu gas fields also undergoing construction. The project includes transmission integration to Namibian and South African grids, whereby various transmission lines will be constructed in the process. The project is estimated to cost US$ 1 billion. Government has set March 2013 as the production target date for Kudu, but it will take four years to develop the project.

NamPower has completed the Auas-Khomas Project. The project involved the construction of a 220kV power line running from the Auas sub-station to the Khomas sub-station. The power utility is presently planning to construct a 132kV power line from the Auas Transmission Station east of Windhoek to the Rehoboth Substation just north of Rehoboth. The purpose of the project is to rectify the problem of power supply constraints that have been experienced in the areas of Aris, Leutwein, Groot Aub, Oamites, Rehoboth, Oanob, Klein Aub and Blumfelde south of Windhoek. The areas are serviced by a fragile 66kV power supply system producing power of a poor quality. Rehoboth has also been seen as a potential central growth area in Namibia in need of an upgrade in the electrical power supply, while there is an increasing demand for electrical power in the area of Sossuvlei and the south-western areas of this region. It is for these reasons that NamPower sees the need to construct the 132kV power line as well as upgrading the remaining 66kV power supply system to meet growing power demand and to ensure a more consistent supply of electrical power in these areas.

Key Figures

  • Electricity produced: 1.65 billion KWh (2007)
  • Electricity consumed: 3.175 billion KWh (2007)
  • Electricity Exported:40 million KWh (2007)
  • Electricity Imported: 2.045 KWh (2007)

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