Namibia has one of the best locations to invest in renewable energy both for domestic and southern African markets as its infrastructural connectivity to neighbouring countries enables it to become a net exporter of electricity.
There is a large regional energy market with the whole SADC region suffering from electricity shortages and Namibia is ideally placed to supply the neighbouring countries with electricity.
As one of the countries blessed with natural sunlight, only small amount of Namibia’s solar energy resources is utilised.
For Namibia, renewable technologies promote more inclusive economic and social development than fossil fuel-based options because they are suitable small-scale solutions that can run independently from central control.
Implementation of renewable alternatives has already started across Namibia which has one of the Africa’s fastest development rates for renewable energy investment.
In Namibia, energy is a composition of liquid fuels, electricity, and nuclear energy, geothermal energy, gas, coal, solar water heaters and cooker and charcoal (wood).
- Liquid fuels 63% net consumption
- Electricity 17% net consumption
- Coal 5% net consumption
- Solar, biogas, wind energy 15% net consumption
Namibia boasts of the world’s second highest solar irradiation regime, with the country receiving considerable solar radiation of up to ~7 kWh/m2/day of global horizontal irradiance (solar PV & solar water heaters) and up to ~8 kWh/m2/day of direct normal irradiance (CSP and concentrating solar PV applications).
The clear focus on photovoltaics (PV) is rooted in the high solar irradiation values, which clearly stand out even by African standards and rank among the highest in the world. With approx. 300 sunny days and over 3,000 sun hours per year, the annual solar irradiation reaches values of 2,200 to 2,400 kWh/m².
Due to the constantly high irradiation, PV systems in Namibia generate twice as much electricity as comparable systems in Germany, for instance, on an annual average.
A daily yield of up to >5.6 kWh can be expected per kWp of installed PV capacity. There are opportunities for passive solar water desalination plants for the mining and agriculture sectors.
Namibia has high wind power potential, especially in coastal areas where wind speeds reach 10 metres/second or faster. This is one of the countries in the world with long coastlines measuring 1,572 km.
In comparison, natural conditions for wind power are limited in the region. High, constant wind speeds, which offer ideal conditions for the construction of wind power plants, are found above all on the south coast in the region around Lüderitz, as well as in the coastal region on the border to Angola. According to an analysis by the Ministry of Mines & Energy, an annual electricity yield of around 2,800 MWh per installed MW of wind power can be expected in Lüderitz.
Wind energy is sufficient to be harvested and put to good use, as it is considered to be one of the efficient and fast growing energy in the world.
Non-electricity off-grid renewable energy projects include the small/ micro wind energy installations used for water pumping, which are very common in Namibia, especially on farms.
Namibia has over 30,000 wind-driven water pumps installed across country which need to be replaced with solar energy sources.
Namibia is home to several hot springs, indicating the potential for geothermal energy development. We are uniquely placed to transform the challenge of an invasive plant species (encroacher bush) into an opportunity for biomass-based energy, with large areas that have the potential to generate between 6-30 MWh/hectare from conversion of bush into bio-energy.
Biomass is the main source of energy in rural Namibia, more specially in the Northern and North-Eastern part of Namibia where 87% of the rural population rely on it.
Namibia has a very successful biomass energy project that is harvesting invader bush – which covers substantial areas of northern Namibia – for use in a steam boiler.
This is in addition to hydropower potential on the Kunene, Kavango, and Orange Rivers. Renewable Energy thus represents a valuable economic resource for Namibia.
Oil companies have invested US$1.5 billion drilling for oil offshore Namibia to date and the number of oil exploration licences issued by the Ministry of Mines and Energy jumped from two in 2007 to 14 in 2018.
The oil and gas industry is still at a very early stage of development, with the discovery of non-commercial volumes of oil in 2013. Geological data further suggests that there are considerable reserves in the offshore basins of Walvis Bay, Luderitz and the Orange River as well as the onshore basins of Namib in northern Namibia.