Energy experts discuss energy plan

The Electricity Control Board recently held a stakeholder meeting for the first of a series of discussions regarding the National Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP). The Plan, is a road map which is intended to guide the line ministry as well as the regulator with regards to energy planning.
Facilitator of the stakeholder engagement, Robert Griesbach of Hatch Consultants, the energy firm tasked to assist the Electricity Control Board was up to task as he handled questions from the participants which included observations about nuclear, the relationship the Integrated Resource Plan had with similar planning documents and issues related to tariffs.
Speaking on the existence of the National Integrated Resource Plan, Griesbach said, “each plan is prepared for different purposes but the NIRP is the comprehensive national plan. Once this plan is in place it is important that lobbying and political processes should not cause projects to be stalled at Cabinet level.”
Added Griesbach, “each country has a unique power sector structure and corresponding legal requirements. In Namibia, the NIRP is a document compiled for the Ministry of Mines and Energy. It is a legal document, but similar to other legal documents, its value lies in whether or not it is implemented, which is the prerogative of the MME.”
On the issue of tariff setting Greisbach said, “The NIRP is a planning tool that establishes the framework for investment in new projects. In setting tariffs, the ECB will respond to applications from licensees for the costs that are incurred in meeting the requirements of their customers.”
Remarkably, Griesbach said that the Integrated Plan would make provision for nuclear. Responding to a question from the floor, he said, “a nuclear power option will be considered in the preparation of the National Integrated Resource Plan.”
A follow-up stakeholder meeting is scheduled for the first half of 2016. By the end of March this year, project consultants Hatch will have carried out a range of activities and this will include updating the load forecast, defining expansion scenarios and holding a training workshop.