Commercial and Industrial (C&I) solar developer, Sustainable Power Solutions (SPS), is leading the development of a 10MW solar plant in North Central Namibia which is set to be Namibia’s first wheeling project implemented under the country’s Modified Single Buyer (MSB) framework.
The solar energy plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2024, and will supply power to B2Gold’s Otjikoto Mine, located approximately 300 km north of Windhoek. SPS is implementing the project with its Namibian partners, Fortitude and the Oelofse family.
The solar plant will not be connected behind B2Gold’s electricity meter, but at a different location on Nampower’s grid, with the clean energy generated by the solar plant being allocated or ‘wheeled’ to B2Gold’s mine.
Nampower’s MSB framework empowers Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to produce and sell electricity directly to regional electricity distributors, large industrial and mining companies, as well as municipalities. This is an improvement to the previous single-buyer model, where electricity output was restricted to being sold only to NamPower.
“We are thrilled to be developing this novel project for B2Gold with our Namibian partners – Fortitude and the Oelofse family. I want to thank NamPower and the ECB for their investor-friendly approach and for their assistance in making this project a reality,” said Francois van Themaat, CEO of SPS.
Namibia’s investor friendliness aided the project
B2Gold is Namibia’s leading gold producer, with an estimated gold output of 200,000 ounces in 2023 and a workforce of 976 employees.
The implementation of the project will make B2Gold’s Otjikoto gold mine one of Namibia’s greenest mines. Through the solar plant, the mine aims to offset about 26 360 tonnes of CO2 annually. This aligns with B2Gold’s climate strategy, to achieve a 30% reduction in Greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 & progressing towards a net zero operation at the Otjikoto mine.
John Roos, Country Manager of B2Gold Namibia, commented, “We are elated about the prospects of this collaboration with SPS, Fortitude, and the Oelofse Family. This solar project embodies our unwavering commitment to sustainable mining practices.”
SPS highlighted that Namibia’s investor-friendly approach and open regulatory environment provided a conducive backdrop for the project, and further noted that the project will help increase the country’s renewable energy penetration and reduce reliance on imported energy and fossil fuels.
Namibia’s MSB framework resembles energy wheeling frameworks, wherein electricity is generated at a specific grid point and distributed to other large consumers via the utility’s network. This initiative aims to ensure the effective provision of electricity, foster a competitive environment in the electricity industry, and encourage private sector investments in the industry.