In 2021, the state of electricity consumption in Namibia had total electricity generation at around 170 watts per person, considerably lower than the global average of 412 watts per person. Low-carbon or clean energy constituted a little less than half of this electricity generation, with hydropower contributing the most to this mix at close to 50 watts per person. Solar power provided almost 20 watts per person, followed by wind at around 1 watt per person. Despite its huge untapped potential, fossil energy's contribution was close to none at just over 3 watts per person, with coal accounting for 2.25 watts per person. Comparatively low levels of electricity generation may constrain the country's socio-economic development by limiting the availability of power for industries and households. Note that a significant proportion of Namibia's electricity supply, almost two-thirds, is made up by net imports.
Namibia can turn around the situation by expanding its solar energy production due to its strategic geographic location. It receives a high amount of sunshine throughout the year which can be efficiently converted into electricity. Moreover, the drop in cost of solar equipment makes it a particularly cost-effective way to generate electricity. Countries like Australia, which generates nearly 150 watts per person from solar energy, can serve as reliable models. Given its geographical characteristics, Namibia could also consider investing in wind energy infrastructure. Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, leading players in wind energy generation, can provide useful insights in this respect.
The history of low-carbon electricity in Namibia, specifically hydropower, has been somewhat tumultuous since the early 1990s. After a significant drop in the early years of the 1990s, there was a brief rebound in hydropower generation in 1995, producing an additional 0.5 TWh of electricity. However, this was followed by another period of decline through the late 1990s, before there was a steady increase in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, the 2010s were almost marked by stagnant growth with intermittent periods of decline and increase in hydropower production. The last two years have brought mixed results: 2020 saw a significant increase with an added 0.6 TWh, while 2021 disappointed with a reduction of 0.4 TWh.