Namibia: Bundled Wind Project
Utilizing wind resources for clean energy
Karas Region, Namibia*
The project is located in Lüderitz, in the Karas region of Namibia; an area with some of the highest wind speeds in the country. The project is structured in two phases, the first seeing the installation of 3 wind turbines and the second seeing the addition of another 2 turbines. Each turbine has an individual capacity of 2MW, creating a total installed capacity of 10MW. Once all turbines are installed, the project will deliver 36,700MWh of clean electricity to the Namibian grid every year. Based on average annual consumption, the project alone will sustainably meet the electricity needs of just under 23,000 Namibians every year.
Technology brief – how it works
Driven by the kinetic energy of moving air, the mechanical energy created by a rotor is fed into an attached generator to produce electricity. Output can vary depending on wind speed and this is ultimately determined by atmospheric conditions, although it is also influenced by ground characteristics. A rough surface exerts significant friction, effectively consuming energy and thereby slowing down the moving air. Smooth surfaces cause very little friction, the most obvious example being higher wind speeds in coastal areas.
It is therefore important to site wind farms carefully to maximise their potential. Over the last two decades wind power technology has rapidly improved. The size and power output have consistently increased while lowering the cost per electricity unit.
Namibia is largely desert land. However, the country has a large coastline and is rich in natural minerals which support a large proportion of its economy. 60% of Namibia‘s national electricity is imported from South Africa, which is dominated by fossil fuel plants. The remaining share of domestic power supply is almost entirely reliant on hydropower. Consequently, the country is incredibly vulnerable to external shocks such as drought and fluctuating import tariffs. For example, Ruacana Power Station, Namibia‘s major domestic power source, suffered from a significantly below average river flow from 2017-18 compared to the last five years. Furthermore, the NamPower Annual Report 2018 states that a number of import agreements will be expiring in 2020, increasing the likelihood of supply falling majorly short of demand, unless the country is prepared. It is therefore vital that Namibia reduces its dependence on imported power and diversifies its energy mix using renewable power sources. In its National Energy Policy of 2017, Namibia committed to increasing its share of renewables in electricity production to 70%. This project contributes to achieving this goal.