More renewable energy expected in 2017

The Electricity Control Board (ECB) is in the process of transformation and is set to become an energy regulator through the Namibia Energy Regulatory Authority (NERA) Bill, which will see the board oversee electricity, downstream gas and petroleum come 2017.
According to the CEO of the ECB, Foibe Namene, the transformation will also realise 150MW of renewable source of electricity into the national grid and this is expected to come online by 2017.
Namene also added that a major new aspect to be introduced by the Bill is the formation of a specialised Energy Tribunal in the energy sector.
The objective of the Energy Tribunal will be to deal with disputes and appeals lodged under the energy-specific legislation. “The NERA Bill is nearing completion and once finalised will be presented to the Minister of Mines and Energy for approval,” Namene said.
“The new bill will allow for the regulator to oversee electricity, downstream gas and downstream petroleum in accordance with energy-specific legislation,” she added.
Currently, the ECB has the responsibility to control the electricity supply industry with the main duty of regulating electricity generation, transmission, distribution, supply, import and export in Namibia through tariff setting and issuing of licenses.
The ECB issued an Independent Power Producer (IPP) licence to Xaris, an 250MW gas-fired power plant at Walvis Bay and 27 other companies, as well as other licensees for different technologies such as wind and thermal power stations.
The 27 Independent Power Producer are part of an interim Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff Programme. The programme is expected to add 70MW to the grid through he use of renewable energy sources. Namene said that the ECB will also be licensing the successful applicant of the 3 x10MW Solar PV tender in the coming months. In total, the ECB expects Namibia to have about 150 MW of electricity coming from renewable energy sources by 2017.
In comparison, South Africa has financed 40% of the 1 760 Megawatts of electricity produced by Independent Power Producers. These renewable energy projects financed by Standard Bank are currently producing more than 40% of the by Independent Power Producers in South Africa.
Delivering roughly the same amount of power that is cut when phase one load shedding occurs to South Africa’s national grid. A further 800MW of power to South Africa’s power generating capacity is expected to be added by the 14 active renewable energy Independent Power Producers.