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The much anticipated Finance Minister’s speech today targeted at the energy sector could be a game changer – when the minister outlines solutions regarding power shortages

In Namibia, Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein is expected to address the financial challenges, solutions and the implications of power shortages during his speech today at the National Energy conference in Windhoek.

The one-day conference has been organised by the Economic Association of Namibia (EAN), in collaboration with The Namibian newspaper and the Hanns Seidel Foundation Namibia.

The Namibian reported that the conference aims to provide a highly constructive platform for deliberations on alternative energy sources and the way forward for the Namibian energy sector.

Namibia immune to power shortages

The Namibian news website highlighted that energy generation capacity in southern Africa has been subjected to underinvestment, hence lately the region has been experiencing major power shortages, due to increasing demand but fairly stagnant supply growth over the past three to four decades.

The event organiser and EAN co-director, Lauren Davidson, noted that the sole reason Namibia has not been experiencing power shortages was that the country has a history of buying relatively cheap power from the Southern African Development Community region.

Davison added: “While the devastating impact of these power shortages can be seen in our neighbouring countries, Namibia has so far been able to stave off major power blackouts or load shedding.

“As regional power shortages bite, and as current power purchase agreements draw to a close, it is starting to look increasingly unlikely that these agreements will be renewed, particularly not at similar prices to those of the past.

“While many entities have potential solutions to this immanent crisis, time is running out to introduce such solutions before key power purchase agreements come to an end, in mid-2016,” she concluded.

150MW solar farm

In other Namibian power news, US utility CPS Energy is interested in investing in a 150MW solar farm in the country.

This follows the Minister of New Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze, revealing that Namibia needs to add 150MW of electricity to the national grid within 12 months.

While travelling in the US, Kandjoze said he had found a solution in San Antonio, Texas.

Jenna L Saucedo, vice president of public affairs and brand management at CPS Energy, commented: “We have engaged in conversations with [the] minister…regarding Namibia’s energy needs. We believe that along with our local San Antonio developer, OCI Solar, we can provide the required level of support.

“This is an exciting opportunity presented to us by San Antonio mayor Ivy Taylor, and our local consortium partners including OCI Solar, Sun Action Trackers and Kaco New Energy, look forward to engaging with Namibia in a significant way.”