Over the 2000s, the combination of sustainable escalation of electricity demand with a static growth in domestic generation made Namibia increasingly dependent on power supplies from beyond its borders and controls. Accordingly, the contribution of domestic generation averaged only 50% for the period 2000 to 2009, decreasing from 60% in 2000 to 40% in 2009.
In the meantime, the Namibian power sector had been undergoing a comprehensive reform and had made considerable progress in restructuring its electricity supply industry. The national Electricity Act of 2007 provided for opening of the power sector to private sector investment. This change translated into more investments in electricity distribution in regional areas, though the national power utility (NamPower) was still producing the bulk of domestic generation in the country. During this period, Namibian authorities also focused on the construction of a new hydroelectric dam and implementation of demand-side management (DSM) programs.
Regardless of all the actions undertaken, the power sector of Namibia was still vulnerable to shortage and relied too much on foreign electricity generation. With this in mind, the Namibian Electricity Control Board, with the financial support of the World Bank, mandated Hatch Ltd., a Canadian engineering firm, to develop a National Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP) for the Republic of Namibia. The main objective of this NIRP was to identify the mix of resources for meeting near- and long-term consumer energy needs in an efficient and reliable manner. This NIRP was also aimed at preparing a 20-year electricity sector plan, involving both demand-side and supply-side strategies and action plans.
Within the framework of its project with the Republic of Namibia, Hatch Ltd. mandated Econoler to identify and analyse potential DSM options for the Namibian power sector.
Econoler carried out the following activities:
- Identifying possible demand management and energy efficiency options for Namibia, including energy-efficient lighting, consumer awareness campaigns, energy audits in commercial and industrial sectors, solar water heating and fuel switching.
- Detailing the key characteristics of each DSM option, such as the costs, potential impacts and implementation time frame.
- Evaluating the impact of proposed DSM measures on demand and load curves, on a daily and seasonal basis.
- Assessing potential social and environmental impacts of the set of identified DSM options, including job creation, access to energy, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and other social issues.
- Developing an implementation plan for a list of proposed DSM options and evaluating required resources for successful enactment at the national level.
Econoler’s work was integrated into the final NIRP developed for the power sector of Namibia. The identified DSM measures helped manage the growing energy demand and sustainably contributed to making the country less reliable on foreign electricity generation, alleviating energy shortages as well as improving access to energy for the population.