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    Namibia’s plan to become independent of electricity imports has received a US$138.5 million boost.

    In a first for the country, the World Bank is to fund improvements to the country’s electricity grid, including the integration of renewable energy, according ESI Africa.

    The World Bank says the funding will go towards erecting a second Auas–Kokerboom transmission line and developing Namibia’s second utility-scale battery energy storage system (BESS).

    It will also aid utility NamPower in developing a set of bankable renewable energy projects, which will help the country become self-sufficient in terms of energy production, reports African Insider.

    According to the Organisation of Economic Complexity, Namibia is one of the world’s top 50-largest importers of electricity. In 2022, it reportedly imported US$235 million worth of energy, mostly from Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

    While the country is an optimum location for renewable energy production, especially solar PV farms, its installed renewable capacity makes up only 30% of its energy mix.

    ‘Namibia is a uniquely positioned regional leader in the transition towards a greener and more sustainable future,’ says Satu Kahkonen, the World Bank’s country director for Namibia.

    Engineering News reports that the new 465 km, 400-kV Auas-Kokerboom line will amp up NamPower’s north-south transmission capacity.

    NamPower MD Kahenge Haulofu says the transmission line is key to Namibia’s renewable energy plans and would promote regional electricity trading.

    The 45MW/90MWh BESS project, meanwhile, will be sited at the Lithops substation in the Erongo region, which is central to the mining industry.

    The World Bank believes the project, while minimising the risks of power cuts and supporting an expanding base of users, will also create future opportunities for power trade in the Southern African Power Pool.

    14 May 2024
    Image: Unsplash