Namibia’s special offer at COP26

At the onset of COP26 next week in Glasgow, Scotland, Namibia can be assured that it will be properly represented and that its delegation will be equipped with a fairly complete set of plans for the energy future of the country.

President Hage Geingob leads the delegation and his right-hand man is the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta. Other members of his delegation are the Minister of Energy, Tom Alweendo, and the Di-rector-General of the National Planning Commission, Otniel Kandjoze. They will also be accompanied by Mr. James Mnyupe, Namibia’s Commissioner for Green Energy.
COP26’s main objective is to ensure that global warming is contained by 2050 and that participants in the Paris Agreement sign firm agreements on it. During the conference, side line negotiations are likely to play the crucial role in achieving nations’ goals of achieving zero pollution by 2050 or earlier.
Namibia, however, has a special offer to make at COP26.
As a net importer of electricity, a long coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, sunshine and wind, two usable ports, a lot of minerals and mining products and trainable human materials, there are great prospects for Namibia. Especially the power crisis in South Africa and consequently in the sub-region, and Namibia’s relative access to European markets, positions the country to be a role player in new energy flows globally. Green energy is a work in progress and Namibia is ready to do its part.
At COP26, investors and participants must be found and connect-ed.
Since the Namibian government requested that project proposals be submitted to the Commissioner of Green Energy for evaluation by mid-September 2021, much has happened in various fields.
Namibian participants in the extension of Harambee Prosperity Plan II (HPPII) have indeed burnt the midnight oil, because deadlines are getting shorter and new plans, rather than new science, are the driving force behind the global climate plan.
Project leaders identify (countries) sites, financing and outlets for new energy flows and sell them under the banner of social responsibility, economic progress and balance between rich and poor countries. In each of the plans presented, the multiplier factor for a host country like Namibia is simply greater.
Namibia has a special offer to the global seekers of new energy streams. The country’s nature is still intact and it is a net importer of electricity. Namibia is democratic, peaceful and politically stable, endorses a mixed economic system and is receptive to foreign direct investment. This is clear from the perception of prospective partners. Governments and private investors stand in line to grab Namibia’s attention.
Significant memoranda of understanding and agreement have already been entered into bet-ween, for example, Germany and Namibia, America and Namibia and South Africa and Namibia. At the private investor level, Australian conglomerates, Saudi Arabian investors, Russia and others have all lined up.
Namibia in turn, announced its willingness. Among the most important documents in this regard are the spelled out policy of readiness encompassed in the HPPII plan, Vision2030 and draft legislation submitted by the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade to establish Sustainable Special Economic Zones between now and 2026. These are comprehensive documents, positioning Namibia to make full use of the energy revolution and a rapidly changing economic order. This is indeed the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
What’s on the table?
* While South Africa, Africa’s biggest economic power’s, electricity supply is collapsing and the country urgently needs to get rid of its ad-diction to polluting coal energy, two things have emerged in Namibia. Domestic self-sufficiency in electricity supply and the role of the national power supplier in it. Nampower’s mandate as a supplier and distributor of power has never been as important as it is now and capacity needs to be urgently added to meet even the minimum needs.
The event was spotted by a group of investors with ties to Saudi Arabia. Under the name, Power Invest DMCC and BW Energy, a plan was submitted to Cabinet on 21 September that could contribute 586MW of electricity to the Namibian grid. The plan involves the Nataniel Maxuilili power station at Dune 7 outside Walvis Bay and includes the Blue energy source from the Kudu gas field along the coast at Lüderitz. The project could be fully operational by the end of 2022. If it does happen.
* Meanwhile, a handful of project proposals have been made to pro-duce hydrogen energy at Lüderitz, with spelled out sales potential in South Africa and Eu-rope. These include desalination of seawater, the production of ammonia for the agricultural industry and even power generation for metallurgical processes.
* The third major prospect is an American-sponsored project to build a solar farm, perhaps the largest on earth, in the Kalahari, on the border between Namibia and Botswana. It will also provide power for own use and export to South Africa in particular.
* The role of solar power that has already been installed should also not be overlooked. In places like Grootfontein, Gam-m in Northeast Herero-land, Outapi and several others, solar farms with considerable capacity shoot up and within ap-propriate rules, private entrepreneurs install solar power on center- and warehouse roofs. NamPower does this on a large scale to stabilize power supply lines. Namibia is busy, but also realizes it will have to change gears to stay relevant.
Meanwhile, the economic power of a comprehensive future energy and electrification plan is central to the larger Namibian vision for the future from which quality jobs should be created for Namibians and from which better and relevant training for Namibian youth can flow. This is only possible if offers such as the latest from the German government for development aid, are taken responsibly and if all foreign interest is seriously considered.
Namibia should not disqualify projects due to specific preferences and should in fact follow a very open policy regarding direct investment to the extent that it holds the maximum benefits for both the country and the investor. Namibia will have to judge realistically and be highly receptive to new ideas, but also have to be vigilant and be careful not to get bitten.
In order to prepare its goals for economic growth and in a short time add electricity and green energy flows to its export basket, Namibia will now have to work day and night on the administration that can make the new economy possible. Legislation within the norms of a modern and responsible state is extremely important. Insight into what the future holds must be pursued by knowledgeable functionaries in both the public and the private sectors, as this is the partnership that can make Namibia succeed.

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