Botswana and Namibia will soon their dream of erecting a 5000-megawatt solar power plant come to fruition following approval by the United States Government to assist with a financial injection to drive the project meant to improve generation capacity in the two neighbors.
Both the Botswana and the Namibian Government have signed a memorandum of understanding and come up with working modalities to drive the project going forward. Mega Solar an American energy company with the blessing of Botswana and Namibia is also driving the project.
United States President Joe Biden approved funding to the multi-billion dollar project as a priority investment and key pillar in compacting climate change and driving cleaner energy sources.
In total, the venture is expected to generate up to five giga-watts of solar power and to avoid an estimated 6.5 million tons of CO2 annually – the equivalent of taking almost 1.5 million cars off the road.
Mega Solar project is a part of USAID’s Power Africa Initiative, which is committed to assisting the southern Africa region transform from reliance on fossil fuels to clean energy, enabling a path to de-carbonization.
In addition all parties to the deal signed a memorandum of intent was this month with the US Embassy in Namibia recently confirming eagerness by the Biden administration to see the project come to fruition..
“I am very excited that Namibia, Botswana, the United States, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the African Development Bank have taken important steps forward together on the Mega Solar Project,” Lisa Johnson the outgoing US ambassador to Namibia said recently
She added that, “Mega Solar will directly advance a goal set forth in His Excellency President Geingob’s Harambee Prosperity Plan II for Namibia by achieving a secure and cost-effective energy supply.”
She also said, “When fully realized, Mega Solar could be one of the largest solar parks in the world, generating 3,000 – 5,000 megawatts of energy,” Ambassador Johnson added. “This could transform Namibia and Botswana into two of the globe’s most significant producers of solar power, enough to begin exporting renewable energy to the southern Africa region. Beyond the economic potential, Mega Solar will help decarbonize southern Africa and will make a significant contribution to global efforts on climate change.”
Mega Soar’s initial goal is to provide additional power from solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar thermal technologies to meet local demand, an ultimate benefit of the collaborative efforts of the Mega Solar partners in strengthening the institutional and technical capacity as well as legal and regulatory frameworks of the focal countries.
Mark Carrato, USAID’s Coordinator of Power Africa, said, “Simply put, this milestone agreement, with Botswana and Namibia demonstrating unprecedented leadership and collaboration, moves Mega Solar from the concept phase to the action phase.”
“Unlocked by this partnership is the extraordinary development potential for life and globe changing clean energy, emanating from southern Africa on a pioneering scale of massive productive use,” Mark Carrato added.
The Power Africa Initiative – established by the 2013 Electrify Africa Act – is making a difference across sub-Saharan Africa by improving lives, supporting economic growth, and combating climate change through improved access to clean, reliable, and affordable electricity.
Since 2013, Power Africa has leveraged the combined expertise of the private sector and 12 U.S. government agencies to bring 12,000 MW – representing a USD 22 billion investment – to financial close.
Already, Power Africa has connected more than 20.8 million homes and businesses to on- and off-grid solutions, bringing first time electricity to 98 million people across sub-Saharan Africa.
Power Africa, though its partnerships and comprehensive technical assistance presence, is uniquely positioned to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s objectives to support economic growth and de-carbonization across sub-Saharan Africa, a region critical to fighting climate change.