In Southern Africa, the Namibian finance minister Calle Schlettwein, delivered his much anticipated speech on Wednesday at the National Energy conference in Windhoek, promoting the development of renewable energy sources as a way forward for the country’s challenged energy sector.
Kudu gas too expensive
Schlettwein said the Kudu gas-to-power project should be forgotten as it is expensive compared to renewable energy projects, which now smartly compete with conventional power sources from a cost point of view, The Namibian reported.
The 885MW Kudu power plant project, to be located Oranjemund, is projected to provide Namibia with 400MW of power and between 100-300MW of surplus power will be exported to South Africa and Zambia.
Schlettwein said: “As per the Ministry of Finance’s assessment, the unit cost of electricity from the Kudu power project is estimated at around 255 Namibia dollar cents per KWh.
“In contrast, the 2013 renewable energy IPP procurement round in South Africa yielded unit electricity prices ranging between R0,67 to R0,145 depending on the type of generation project.”
The minister also said he was pleased to see that renewables are evolving and rapidly becoming more affordable.
Growing investment in renewables
Schlettwein revealed that several power sector developers with operations in southern Africa have shown keen interest in investing in Namibia.
“Renewable energy facilities are also very relevant for a sparsely populated country like Namibia where grid connectivity may not be a feasible option for all locations,” he said.
The finance minister added that renewable energy solutions are not only beneficial for domestic use but also support local businesses, like the use of locally produced energy for running irrigation pumps.
Schlettwein said: “We are aware that Namibia has some of the best solar resources in the world. We also have phenomenally good sites for wind energy.”
He said that this sums up the fact that Namibia has a strong reason to embrace renewables as an important component in the country’s energy mix.
“I do hope that we are able to conceptualise and facilitate investments in an increasing number of renewable energy projects,” he concluded.
While presenting various energy solutions for Sub-Saharan Africa, World Bank’s energy specialist Reynold Duncan, echoed Schlettwein’s views that the Kudu gas project should be forgotten.