Namibia ventures into wind energy

Namibia is taking its first steps into wind power as it started a detailed wind assessment at Diaz Point in Lüderitz with the aim to eventually set up a 44 MW wind turbines generation plant. The assessment will determine the number of turbines as well as their size.

Partners in the NAD1bn (US$150m) project include United Africa Group (UAG), Japan’s Sojitz Corp and Seoul-based Korea Midland Power (KMP). For Sojitz, it is the first independent power project in sub-Saharan Africa in which a Japanese company participates. UAG’s portfolio is wide-ranging and the company entered the wind power business in 2007. KMP are already active in electric power development in Africa and bring their experience in the region as well as in the renewable sector to the table.

It is expected that a long-term supply agreement will be signed with the Namibia national power company in the first half of this year. Operations are scheduled to start in 2013. In the longer-term, a second phase is planned to extend the plant’s capacity to 90 MW.

At present, Namibia relies on South Africa and other neighbouring countries for the supply of relatively low-cost power for more than half of its domestic electricity demand. However, southern Africa’s power demand is set for growth with prices expected to rise considerably. Consequently, Namibia is looking to increase its national power generation capacity, partly through the introduction of renewable energy sources.