Renewable energy transition requires investors

30 November 2021 | Economics

Tom Alweendo; Mines and Energy Minister;

Windhoek • Phillepus Uusiku





Namibia has the world’s second highest solar irradiation regime, high wind power potential and potential for geothermal and bioenergy developments. The potential for green electricity production in Namibia is many times the country’s domestic electricity consumption.

These remarks were made by mines at energy, Tom Alweendo, at the Renewable Energy Business Summit in Dubai.

According to Alweendo, countries around the world, including Namibia, are united in transitioning to a future based on renewable energy as there is a concern of the devastating impact of fossil fuel energy on the environment. Namibia recognises renewable energy as a solution to climate change.

“Recognising the inevitability of the energy transition, we understand and accept that fossil fuel is no longer the fuel of the future and that the world is transitioning to renewable energy. We are, however, also calling for an energy transition that is just and equitable among nations. We need to guard against an energy transition process that has the potential to adversely affect some without any mitigation. It is the case that countries that are highly dependent on fossil fuel for their socio-economic development, may need a little more time to transition than countries that have already made an inroad into the renewable energy space,” he said.

The government has committed to the transition from fossil fuel energy as features are highlighted in the economic recovery plan that was recently launched by President Hage Geingob. As part of the recovery plan, Namibia has a goal to be a green hydrogen hub on the African continent.

“To realise our goal, in August this year we issued an international request for proposal (RFP) to identify private sector investors to collaborate with Namibia in building green hydrogen assets,” Alweendo added.

Bidders

After a thorough and transparent assessment of all the bids that were received, during the COP26 held recently in Glasgow, President Geingob announced Hyphen Hydrogen Energy (Hyphen) as the successful bidder. “We look forward to working together with Hyphen to realise our goal of becoming a green hydrogen hub. Given the size of the available renewable energy resources in the country, it is our intention to explore the idea of seeking other potential investors to collaborate with us,” he said.

As to the global market for green hydrogen, there is now a global consensus that green hydrogen is the fuel for the future. According to a preliminary study by the World Bank with regards to green hydrogen market, Namibia could produce highly competitive green hydrogen. With limited local demand, exports will be key to our green hydrogen strategy, the minister pointed out.

On the energy policy front, Namibia’s energy sector is premised on a diverse energy mix. In view of the critical role that energy plays in the country’s economy, the Ministry of Mines and Energy has developed the National Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP).

It is a long-term plan that guides the development of the electricity generation industry by providing supply scenarios to meet projected demand. The plan was first drafted in 2013, reviewed in 2016 and it is currently undergoing another review that is expected to be finalised early 2022.

Investment

The plan maps out the country’s least cost electricity supply path into the future and includes an energy mix that optimises Namibia’s goal to become energy self-sufficient by using as far as the network allows, indigenous renewable energy sources in the form of wind, solar PV and biomass. “We will do this while also ensuring base-load generation options and storage to ensure stability and security of supply,” he said.

The updated NIRP will have a base case scenario targeting a minimum of 70% share of energy to be supplied from renewable energy by 2030 as envisioned in the Renewable Energy Policy. The plan also envisages that by 2028, 80% of primary energy used will be locally generated.

“Realising the goal of becoming a green hydrogen hub and addressing our energy security of supply, is a task that cannot be achieved by the Government alone. We will need investors, both local and international, to invest in our energy sector. It is therefore our commitment to the investors that we will do all what is necessary to ensure that your investment in Namibia is protected and secure.”

Namibia measures its wealth in many ways from its world-class natural landscapes, its political stability and steady economic development, to its wealth in renewable energy resources. Alweendo invited all potential investors that are visiting the Dubai Expo 2020 to visit the Namibian pavilion to obtain more information on some specific investment opportunities that they might require.

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