Namibia imports more than 50% of its electricity from neighbouring countries: South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the Southern African Power Pool. Electricity is mainly derived from fossil fuels and all petroleum products are imported, so its energy supply is vulnerable.
To reduce the reliance on imports, the Namibian government resolved to incorporate renewable energy into its short to long term development planning, and to develop a comprehensive set of regulations and acts, including a Namibia Energy Regulatory Framework, a Renewable Energy Act and an overall Energy Efficiency Act.
This project aimed to assist the key energy stakeholders in Namibia in creating a comprehensive new energy regulation framework for the country which takes into account the promotion of renewables and energy efficiency, and facilitates fair market access, return on investment, quality of supply, standards, market support structures and incentives.
Partly due to the very ambitious scope of the project and partly due to the Namibian Electricity Control Board (ECB) being more interested in some aspects than others, not all envisaged outcomes were achieved. The outputs that were produced, however, were of good quality and highly relevant to the project purpose.
The main success of the project was the creation of a national policy making process which involved the participation of key stakeholders and contributed to the development of a regulatory framework for renewable energy. Besides, a number of studies were conducted which resulted in reports with useful recommendations for policy makers.
The project provided a clearer understanding of how the development of a national renewable energy regulatory framework should be pursued, and the first steps towards such a framework were taken. As a result of the adoption of new policies, by the end of the project a number of investments in solar PV were in the pipeline. An ad hoc body was established to manage the implementation of the newly adopted procurement mechanisms (e.g. tendering and bidding).
The studies conducted also exposed knowledge gaps about the baseline in Namibia and the need for further research into the impacts of new regulations. After the project ended, the ECB procured other funding to carry on with the building of this knowledge base.