Power sector in 2030
In 2020, Namibia’s electricity demand was 597 MW with an annual growth rate of 3%. According to the National Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP) revised in 2016, peak demand is projected to rise to 931 MW in 2025 and 1348 MW in 2030.
On the supply side, Namibia has only four major power generating stations, with a combined installed capacity of about 500 MW.
The Ruacana Hydroelectric Power Station (330 MW), on Nigeria’s Northern border with Angola, is the core of the country’s domestic power supply. As a ‘run-of-the-river’ scheme it is highly dependent on rainfall in the Southern Angolan catchment area, which makes Namibia’s electricity grid subject to drought-related strains.
Other power stations are a coal fired power station in Windhoek (Van Eck) and two diesel powered stations – the Paratus and Anixas stations – only used in emergencies due to the cost of use. From 2015-2017, six solar power plants were commissioned with a total capacity of 29.5 MW. Even so, Namibia’s demand still outstrips its supply.
This means imported electricity dominates Namibia’s power mix – in the decade to 2017, Namibia imported nearly 60% of its electricity supply, mostly from South Africa, where electricity is predominantly produced using coal, but also from other countries in the Southern Africa Power Pool.,
Namibia’s 2021 updated NDC includes mitigation measures such as implementing a renewable energy feed-in tariff and adding renewable energy capacity. According to the updated NDC, these measures add up to nearly 700 MW of renewable energy capacity and a mitigation potential of 0.5 MtCO₂e.
Towards a fully decarbonised power sector
Given the small scale of the current grid and the dominance of hydro in Namibia’s power sector, the carbon intensity of electricity needs to reduce from just 60 gCO₂/kWh in 2019 to zero between 2025-2027 to be 1.5°C compatible. This would be driven by the phase out of both coal and other unabated fossil fuels from the power mix by no later than 2030, as well as increasing renewable energy to 100% of the power mix by the same year.