A quiet transition: The role of Namibia's state-owned power utility in the renewable energy auction program

Namibia has quickly become a leading African destination for renewable energy investments due to the country's considerable renewable energy and land resources and competitive prices for utility-scale solar PV independent power projects (IPPs) procured through auction programs. These project prices are all the more remarkable considering that contracts are in local currency, provided without government support, a rarity in sub-Saharan Africa. Key to this outcome is NamPower, Namibia's state-owned power utility. NamPower is both procurer and off-taker for these projects and is one of only three utilities in sub-Saharan Africa that can charge cost-reflective tariffs. The utility is generally regarded as well run and is supported by a regulatory agency positioning the country to embrace the energy transition rapidly.

This paper analyses the evolution of Namibia's renewable energy procurement programs, illustrating how a combination of factors at the country, program and project levels led to competitive prices and high project-realisation rates.

Wikus Kruger