First utility-scale battery energy storage system to be developed in Namibia

Namibia’s power utility, NamPower, on Wednesday signed an agreement with two Chinese companies for the development of the country’s first 54MW/54MWH utility-scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

The projected BESS enables electricity to be stored and dispatched when required. The two Chinese companies are Shandong Electrical Engineering & Equipment Group (SDEE), a state-owned enterprise, and Zhejiang Narada Power Source Co. Ltd., a company based in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province.

The KfW Development Bank, a German bank, will provide 20 million euros (about 21.57 million U.S. dollars) in grant funding for the Omburu BESS Project. NamPower will serve as the project executing agency for this project, which is part of the development collaboration between Namibia and Germany, while the Chinese firms are responsible for the construction of the project.

Speaking at the signing in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, NamPower Managing Director Kahenge Haulofu said the Omburu BESS is of great importance.

“The project will help the government accomplish its goals as outlined in the national planning policies and national integrated resource plan by ensuring electricity supply security, cost-efficient as self-sufficiency,” he said, noting that the project will help address and support renewable energy commitments.

According to Haulofu, upon commissioning, the project will provide energy shifting, provision of emergency energy, and ancillary services, and play a pivotal role in transitioning toward low-carbon and environmentally sustainable energy systems.

Wihencia Uiras, executive director of the National Planning Commission of Namibia, said at the signing ceremony that the event marks a significant milestone in the journey toward sustainable and resilient energy solutions.

“The BESS project represents a pivotal step toward achieving our national energy goals,” she said, adding that the project will enhance grid stability, and promote the integration of renewable energy sources.

Meanwhile, Jin Bei, an SDEE representative, said the company is committed to building a world-class facility and making it a landmark in the new energy fields in Namibia.

The project is set to start construction by February 2024 with a time frame of about 550 days, with the batteries expected to last around 10 years (4,000 cycles).

Currently, Namibia imports up to 70 percent of its electricity from neighboring countries and the above project is set to reduce Namibia’s overreliance on imports.

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