Power program aid to Namibia could include hydro

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA) has awarded a US$423,790 technical assistance grant to Namibia to foster independent power production that could include hydropower.

The grant agreement was signed in ceremonies October 2 at the headquarters of Namibia’s Electricity Control Board (ECB) in Windhoek. It is part of the African Global Competitiveness Initiative to help integrate African economies and strengthen their capacity for trade opportunities.

The grant is to support establishment of commercially viable independent power producer (IPP) projects in Namibia by facilitating an IPP and Investment Market Framework developed under a previous TDA grant. Partly as a result of the previous grant, the Namibia Parliament recently approved the Electricity Bill of 2007 that increases ECB’s authority as a power regulator.

TDA said ECB has received a number of proposals for IPP projects and has issued several conditional licenses as a first step. A TDA spokeswoman said hydropower is one of the eligible energy sources for IPPs.

ECB plans to use the grant to pay CORE International Inc. of the United States to help ECB review IPP license applications, enhance its licensing process, and monitor IPPs for regulatory compliance. CORE International carried out work for ECB under the previous TDA grant.

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