- News agency Bloomberg reports that Botswana and Namibia are set to sign an agreement to develop solar projects with up to 5000MW capacity.
- The electricity will mainly be exported across the region.
The southern African nations are working with U.S. government initiative, Power Africa, to help structure the deal, Namibian Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo said in an interview last week Friday with Bloomberg. “The agreement to be signed will facilitate a full feasibility study that will determine the size and the location of the plants,” he said.
Related news: Botswana and Namibia consider a 5GW mega solar project
The ambitious plans signal a shift for both nations that import power from South Africa’s power utility, Eskom. Eskom is the largest utility on the continent but it is struggling financially and operationally to meet demand. Adding 5,000 megawatts of renewable capacity would also further diversify the energy mix of the region, as Eskom mainly burns coal.
Botswana and Namibia have massive solar potential, but have yet to realize large-scale renewable projects. South Africa had one of the fastest-growing renewable energy programs in the world, before government delays paralyzed the effort.
“We should have already signed by now and there was a lot of movement on the agreement in March, before Covid-19 disrupted matters,” said Mmetla Masire, Botswana’s permanent secretary for mineral resources, green technology and energy security.
Negotiations on the finer details of the agreement including potential sites within both countries, cost sharing and other technical details will happen later, Masire said.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal