Government-owned utility Namibia Power Corp. (Nampower) recently announced it will invest N$4.7 billion (US$338 million) over the next five years to add 220 megawatts (MW) of renewable power capacity to its generation mix. More specifically, Nampower intends to tap into abundant solar and wind energy, as well as biomass, resources to build four renewable power plants across the country. That would be a significant addition in a country with one of the lowest population densities in the world. National power generation capacity totals an estimated 557 MW, some 347 MW of it hydroelectric, and nearly half the population, around 1 million residents, some 50% of whom live in rural areas, lacked access to modern electricity services as of 2016.

Namibia has much larger solar and renewable energy development aspirations, as well. Both Namibia and neighboring Botswana are working with the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Future Council on Energy to develop a huge, five-gigawatt (GW) solar power project over the next two decades. “Mega-solar projects—large-scale installations capable of producing upwards of hundreds of megawatts of power—are generating much-needed electricity in countries all over the world.”

“In sunny southern Africa, however, a historic lack of public-private partnerships outside of South Africa and, until recently, Zambia, to develop such projects has left much of the region’s vast solar power potential largely untapped. Today, Botswana and Namibia are poised to change this trend,” highlighted Andrew Herscowitz, coordinator for the USAID-led Power Africa program.

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