1 October 2007 – The Electricity Control Board (ECB) of Namibia has confirmed that Electrawinds, a Belgian company, has applied for a licence to generate electricity at two 50MW wind farms, one in Lüderitz and the other in Walvis Bay.

The wind farms, costing €120-million will be the second private venture in the Namibia electricity industry.

Electrawinds stated in its application to the ECB that it would be willing to cut costs per kWh to between €0,04/kWh and €0,06/kW (down from €0,08/kWh, if it was able to obtain carbon credits for the green energy it generated.

Namibia has recently opened up its energy sector to private investors. In addition to the application by Electrawinds, the ECB is reviewing an application for a 35MW coal fired power station in Walvis Bay, submitted by Binvis Investments.

The first licence issued to a private company was awarded earlier this year; when a licence was given to Aeolus Power Generation Namibia, a joint venture between Dutch Aeolus Association and Namibia’s United Africa Group. The company plans on rolling out a US$160-million wind electricity generation project in Oranjemund and Lüderitz, with a capacity of some 300MW yearly, starting October 2008.

Namibia currently generates 300MW of power internally and has two power stations – Van Eck coal fired power station and Ruacana hydropower station. Ruacana currently is operating at a third of its capacity due to inadequate rainfall, while officials have said that it is too expensive to operate the Van Eck station.

With economic growth averaging 4 percent a year and a rapidly growing mining sector, electricity demand has soared in recent years.

Nampower, the state owned utility, has arranged to receive 40MW from Zimbabwe’s Hwange power station, by investing $40 million in the refurbishment of four generating units.

With rapid progress being made with the refurbishments, it is possible that Namibia will receive power in December 2007, a month earlier than the originally anticipated deadline of January 2008.