The use of encroacher biomass as a source of renewable energy has a large potential for the energy sector and the economy as Nampower prepares to generate electricity from invader bush.
Electricity utility, Nampower will start with the feasibility phase as the finance strategy is yet to be confirmed. A 2012 pre-feasibility study found sufficient encroacher bush biomass to supply 10 plants of 20 MW each for about 189 years.
As part of a national biomass project. Private Public Partnerships models are also being investigated for possible project financing of smaller distribution of around 5 MW or less.
Nampower is also contemplating the hybridization of these bush to electricity power generation plants with solar technology.
Power Systems Development, Chief Officer, Reiner Jagau said during the National Conference on Bush Encroachment and Biomass Value Addition Conference held in Windhoek in September that the 20 MegaWatt plant would require about 150 000 ton of biomass per annum which translates to harvesting about 13 900 hectare per year.
The conference was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.
Jagau’s presentation was held during the conference as part of an Energy Panel Discussion that included the Electricity Control Board, South African STEAG Energy Services using a Biomass Co-generation Plant as a Case Study for Namibia.
Nampower’s presentation was short on detail on when and how many stations will produce electricity. Long term Fuel Supply Agreements (FSA) will have to prove bankable with due diligence to be taken on the whole supply chain.
The German Schwenk Zement Group that established the Ohorongo Cement Plant in the north near Otavi, has been pioneering the bush-to-energy by introducing large scale de-bushing operations so as to substitute up to 50,000 tons of coal by bush yearly.
This project has been financially supported by KfW and by DEG, both are German development banks.
Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Namibia, H.E. Christian Matthias Schlaga said at the same conference that with such expertise Germany can be a competent and honest partner in supporting engineering solutions for biomass supply and for biomass based energy generation in Namibia.
With that expertise Germany can be a competent and honest partner in supporting engineering solutions for biomass supply and for biomass based energy generation in Namibia.
The project execution phase will need a technical solution that fits well into the supply mix which will have to make economic sense and minimizes the transmission losses and is environmentally acceptable.
The procurement strategy for and compilation of commercial and technical agreements and financing will also form part of the three phase approach in executing the project.
Nampower has already appointed a dedicated project team with a meeting held to confirm issues related to Fuel Supply Agreements over the quality, quantity, cost and contracting entity.
“It is obvious that the use of bush for energy in general and power specifically is amongst the most obvious and promising solution to support large scale de-bushing programs: Bush-to-Electricity. That is a topic which is very close to our German heart.” Schlaga said.