Botswana and Namibia are set to sign an agreement to progress a solar projects of as much as 5 GW through installations built across their mostly flat, sunny landscapes.
The southern African nations are functioning with US government initiative, Power Africa, to aid structure the deal, Namibian Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo mentioned in an interview that the electricity will primarily be exported across the region.
“The agreement to be signed will enable a full feasibility study that will govern the size and the location of the plants,” he stated.
The determined plans signal a transference for both nations that import power from South Africa’s Eskom Holdings. The biggest utility on the continent is stressed financially and operationally to meet demand. Adding 5 GW of renewable capacity would also further diversify the energy mix of the region, as Eskom mainly burns coal.
Botswana and Namibia have enormous solar prospective but have yet to recognize large-scale renewable projects. South Africa had one of the fastest-growing renewable energy programs in the world, before government delays paralysed the work.
Mmetla Masire, Botswana’s permanent secretary for mineral resources, green technology and energy security said, “We should have already signed by now and there was a lot of movement on the agreement in March, before Covid-19 disrupted matters”.
Power Africa, alongside with governments, the private sector and donors has facilitated to bring more than 11 GW of generation capacity to financial close since 2013.
Discussions on the finer details of the agreement together with potential sites within both nations, cost sharing and other technical details will happen later, Masire highlighted.
The top priority of the project is to yield electricity mainly for export across the region. At present, both nations are highly reliant on on power imports from South Africa.
Power Africa, a US government-led initiative, coordinated by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will support the two countries in constituting the deal.