Botswana, Namibia Set to Sign 5-Gigawatt Solar Energy Plan
LONDON: Botswana and Namibia are set to sign an agreement to develop solar projects of as much as 5,000 megawatts through installations built across their mostly flat, sunny landscapes. The southern African nations are working with U.S. government initiative, Power Africa, to help structure the deal, Namibian Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo said in an interview. The electricity will mainly be exported across the region. “The agreement to be signed will facilitate a full feasibility study that will determine the size and the location of the plants,” he said. he largest utility on the continent is struggling financially and operationally to meet demand. Adding 5,000 megawatts of renewable capacity would also further diversify the energy mix of the region, as Eskom mainly burns coal. Botswana and Namibia have massive solar potential, but have yet to realize large-scale renewable projects. South Africa had one of the fastest-growing renewable energy programs in the world, before government delays paralyzed the effort. Power Africa, along with governments, the private sector and donors has helped bring more than 11,000 megawatts of generation capacity to financial close since 2013, according to its website. USAID, which coordinates the program, didn’t immediately reply to emailed questions.