Namibia is heavily reliant at present on electricity imports from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), which is increasingly under pressure from growing demand in the region. In addition to seeking greater energy security by expanding power generation from renewables, the Namibian government was also interested in harnessing low-carbon energy as a means to meet its international climate change commitments. While the country has immense renewable energy potential (particularly solar), and developers have been keen to invest in this sector, the absence of a coherent policy and formally articulated commitment – accompanied by the necessary institutional arrangements to support RE development – had stymied the growth of renewables in Namibia.
Delivering on the promise of renewable energy requires an enabling policy, regulatory, and financial environment (in addition to available technology). Shaping this environment in Namibia called for balancing the country’s interest in pursuing an ambitious target with maintaining stability and integrity of current electricity infrastructure. Our effort to create an effective, bespoke renewable energy policy for Namibia also navigated the fine line between catalyzing low-carbon energy growth and significantly re-structuring the country’s overall power sector. We were able to strike this balance, with a strong renewable energy policy that positions Namibia as a leader in this field, while ensuring cost-effectiveness, local economic development, and energy security considerations are taken into account. Our policy provides an impetus for modernization of Namibia’s energy sector is expected to kick-start rapid growth in Namibia’s renewable energy industry.