The White Paper on Energy Policy was developed by the Energy Policy Committee of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Namibia. It was released in May 1998, and states these energy policy goals:

  • Effective energy sector governance
  • Security of supply
  • Social upliftment
  • Investment and growth
  • Economic competitiveness and efficiency
  • Sustainability
The report is available here in various formats.

Executive Summary

This White Paper embodies a new, comprehensive energy policy aimed at achieving security of supply, social upliftment, effective governance, investment and growth, economic competitiveness, economic efficiency and sustainability. Policies will affect energy demand (mainly households), supply (electricity, upstream oil and gas, downstream liquid fuels, downstream gas, and renewable energy) and a number of cross-cutting issues (economic empowerment, environment, energy efficiency and regional energy trade and co-operation).

Government is committed to ensuring that energy demand by the productive sectors of the economy continues to be met through reliable competitively-priced energy. Special attention is given in the White Paper to those demand sectors which have been neglected historically, namely, poor urban and rural households. Policies proposed for these households include those for widening access to electricity as well as other commercial fuels. Generally, not enough is known about the problems and needs in this sector so national studies will be initiated as a basis for future policy development, including the pressing issue of sustainable biomass usage in rural areas and the role of women. Rural energy policies will also be integrated with development initiatives in other ministries.

Government has embarked on the reform of the electricity sector and a study has been commissioned to look at possible rationalization and restructuring, as well as competition and ownership changes. At the same time, an Electricity Act is being drafted which will put in place an electricity regulator to govern the industry. Tariffs and electrification targets will be governed through a licensing system. The creation of a rural electrification fund is also proposed. New investment in the sector will be encouraged through appropriate regulatory, fiscal and environmental frameworks, harmonized with those in SADC countries.

The legislative framework governing upstream oil and gas is well developed, and the White Paper merely clarifies an accepted policy framework which seeks to optimize possible national benefits while achieving the necessary balance of interests to attract investment. The policy identifies the different roles and functions of industry participants, and lays out the basic legal and fiscal criteria.

Namibia does not yet, but soon will, have a downstream gas sector. The key challenge is to create a policy and legislative framework which attracts initial investment into the sector, while maintaining options for competition in the future and the fair distribution of economic rents. A new Gas Act is proposed, but it is thought premature to install a Gas Regulator. Licensing requirements will include the need for separate accounting for the different operations of gas production, transmission, distribution and marketing, allowance for third party access, and the application of fair and reasonable tariffs.

The downstream liquid fuels sector will be subject to controlled and phased deregulation with regard to price setting, subject to competitive behaviour being evident. Government will, however, require obligations in terms of diversified imports, international product specifications, strategic stocks, third party lease access to uncommitted infrastructure, security of forecourt jobs, health and safety, and adequate rural service in terms of access and pricing.

Government will promote the use of renewable energy through the establishment of an adequate institutional and planning framework, the development of human resources and public awareness and suitable financing systems. It also seeks to meet development challenges through improved access to renewable energy sources, particularly in rural electrification, rural water supply and solar housing and water heating.

The energy policy goal of sustainability will further be promoted through a requirement for environmental impact assessments and project evaluation methodologies which incorporate environmental externalities. Energy efficiency will be promoted through policies on better information collection and dissemination, and particularly with respect to energy efficiency and conservation practices in households, buildings, transport and industry.

The White Paper reaffirms Namibia’s commitment to constructive engagement in SADC and SAPP in order to maximize economic benefits. Security of supply will be achieved through an appropriate diversification of economically competitive and reliable sources, but with particular emphasis on Namibian resources.

Finally, the Ministry of Mines and Energy is mindful that the effective implementation of these policies is dependent on the creation of adequate institutional and human resource capacity. Policies have been proposed in each sector to address this issue.