Natura embraces new energy framework

By Hilary Mare

NATURA Energy will implement Namibia’s biggest solar park- the 50 MW TeraSun energy solar photovoltaic power park in Arandis- as it looks to capitalise on the Modified Single Buyer (MSB) model regulatory framework which was approved by cabinet in April.

The framework allows independent power producers to sell electricity to large power users locally and internationally across the national transmission grid.

In essence, Natura’s power park will sell, across the national grid, competitively priced electricity to large power users in Namibia and attract an investment of up to N$900 million.

Through the MSB model, government wishes to enhance the security of electricity supply through the growth of domestic power generation and the reduction of its reliance on electricity imports.

Ezio Vernetti, the Managing Director of Natura Energy highlighted that the TeraSun Energy Power Park, through the enabling policy framework of the ECB, opens up new horizons in the electricity supply industry in Namibia and sets an example for the continent.

“The innovation of allowing private sale and purchase transactions of electricity to take place over the national grid is significant. Whilst the MSB currently limits only 30% of NamPower’s sales as being contestable, the policy represents a major shift in the mind-set and opens the sector to competitiveness and innovation. In the region, Namibia is pioneering this approach at the moment,” said Vernetti.

Natura believes the MSB model has the potential to attract significant national and foreign direct investments, as well as help improve the competitiveness of the private and public sectors of Namibia by reducing input costs.

By the end of 2019, over N$10 million will already have been invested in project development activities to ensure delivery of the power park by the end of 2020. Construction is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2020.

The project is the brainchild of the Natura Energy project development team under executive directorship of Johny Ashipala, Annitta Attieh and Ezio Vernetti together with Frans Mushimba and Jennifer Stride.

In terms this new regulatory market framework, players are to be known as contestable customers and eligible sellers.

Contestable customers are all the Regional Electricity Distributors (REDs), the City of Windhoek and all NamPower customers that are connected to NamPower’s transmission network.

These contestable customers will be allowed purchase electricity from the TeraSun Energy Power Park via bilateral transactions for up to 30% of their annual energy purchases.

The motivation for this policy change in Namibia is a drive for both electricity self-sufficiency and price competitiveness.

Through the MSB model, government wishes to enhance the security of electricity supply through the growth of domestic power generation and the reduction of its reliance on electricity imports.

The N$900-million investment will be structured through TeraSun Energy, a special purpose company that will engage large power users to conclude electricity supply agreements with firm supply durations of 5 to 15 years.

Natura plans to deliver the power park by the end of 2020, with construction earmarked to start in the first quarter of 2020.

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