Namibia’s first grid-scale BESS will get a €20 million grant from Germany’s state development bank

Namibia’s government-owned energy utility company has received a €20 million (US$22.66 million) grant for the building of the African country’s first grid-scale battery storage facility.

Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) told that the finance was made available through a bilateral cooperation agreement between the federal German government and the Republic of Namibia by Germany’s KfW development bank. It will be used to build a 58MW / 72MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) at Namibia’s Omburu substation in the western Erongo area.

It will handle a variety of tasks for NamPower, including peak load shifting, energy arbitrage, emergency backup power provision, power plant ramp-rate management, and reactive power control. NamPower will contribute about 20% of the overall project expenses, including transmission connectivity as well as local charges and taxes not covered by grant money.

The Omburu BESS will help to expand renewable energy in the region by storing locally generated renewable energy as well as electricity imported from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), which may charge the battery during cheaper off-peak hours and then discharge the energy at peak times. This would also offset the usage of electricity from Namibia’s only coal-fired power plant, the 120MW Van Eck Power Station, which, as the utility pointed out, is now outdated, having been built in the early 1970s.

The BESS will also be used to load-follow local renewable energy generation, assisting in grid stabilization by accepting fluctuating output from solar or wind farms. Finally, it will allow Namibia to boost its involvement in energy trading with the SAPP’s other 11 member countries, so contributing to reduce total emissions throughout the pool.

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Namibia’s National Energy Policy aims to get 80 % from domestic sources by 2023, with a Renewable Energy Policy goal of 70 percent by 2030. The BESS will assist accomplish both of these goals while also lowering the total cost of electricity that consumers pay, according to NamPower managing director Kahenge S Haulofu.

“The Namibia battery storage project BESS may be considered as a landmark project because it was one of the first utility-scale storage projects in Southern Africa,” Barbara Pirich, KfW’s country director for Namibia, said during a signing ceremony earlier this month. Because this is the first project of its sort in Southern Africa, it serves a pioneering function – it is believed that later efforts in the same sector would profit significantly from the expertise obtained from his project.”