Nampower appoints EPC for 54MW / 54 MWh Omburu BESS Project

  • By 2030 the Namibian government plans to increase the share of renewable energies (RE) in its electricity generation from around 30% to 70%.
  • With a growing share of RE the need for measures to maintain and improve energy supply stability is also growing.
  • The KfW funded 54MW / 54 MWh Omburu BESS Project can fulfil a multitude of tasks related to the challenges of the integration of RE and is ideally suited to support the sustainable development of the Namibian electricity sector.
  • The EPC contract is with Shandong Electrical, Engineering & Equipment Group Co., Ltd and Zhejiang Narada Power Source Co., Ltd. 
  • Construction work is planned for 18 months, and the plant is expected to be operational by mid-2025.

As the project is the first of its kind in Namibia, it fulfils a pioneering function – it is expected that subsequent projects in the same field will benefit substantially from the experience gained from within this project.

During the EPC award signing ceremony, Ms. Ulrike Metzger, Head of German Development Cooperation remarked that “the BESS Project will contribute towards achieving the National Energy Policy target of 80% of the energy requirements from local sources, the Renewable Energy (RE) Policy target of 70% by 2030, and that it is key in reaching Nationally Determined Climate targets.”

Currently Namibia imports up to 70% of its electricity from neighbouring countries. This electricity is predominately generated with coal. In order to increase Namibia’s share of RE, reduce its dependency from electricity imports and minimize negative environmental impacts from fossil fuel-based electricity supply, the Namibian Government initiated several steps to address these issues.

NamPower plans to extend its own RE generation by approximately 100 MW by 2025. In addition, the initial liberalization of the Namibian electricity market is already attracting private sector investments in solar and wind power plants making use of Namibia’s extraordinarily good solar and wind resources. It is anticipated that the liberalization of the market could add an additional 300 MW PV and 200 MW wind plants to the Namibian grid. These factors all contribute to a climate-friendly development of the Namibian economy and makes Namibia less vulnerable from future constraints of the main electricity suppliers within the South African Power Pool (SAPP).

The rapid expansion of renewable energy is to be welcomed, but it also challenges the Namibian electricity sector with new problems. The fluctuating generation from RE sources and is a permanent challenge for grid stability and security of supply.

As the first utility-scale storage projects in Namibia, the Omburu BESS will provide the following benefits:

  • Surplus electricity from RE generation as well as cheaper electricity imports from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) can be stored in the BESS. The stored energy could supply customers during peak times and would offset fossil energy from the aging local Van Eck coal power plant.
  • Provide grid stability services to the electricity grid as short- and medium-term power fluctuations from RE generation can be absorbed by the BESS. Given the planned growth of RE, this will ensure the stable security of supply for future growth and economic development in Namibia.
  • The BESS would enable Namibia to expand its participation in electricity trade within the 12 member states of the SAPP in a more balanced way. If surplus generation from RE can be traded in the SAPP, a contribution can be made to regional climate protection.
  • Provide some of the emergency energy that is currently being supplied by Eskom / SAPP. The avoided emergency energy from Eskom will greatly reduce NamPower cost of electricity.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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