WINDHOEK -- Namibia is becoming more self-sufficient in terms of electricity generation, says Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo.

Addressingt the 2018 Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) Forum in Swakopmund, about 350 kilometres west of here, he said that as part of the process, a total of 18 independent power producers (IPPs) signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) with national power utility NamPower to supply about 171 megawatts (MWs) of renewable energy for projects in the country.

Alweendo also commended the Cabinet for approving the National Integrated Resource Plan, which aims to find cost-effective electricity generation options which will enable the country to meet its electricity supply needs over the next 20 years.

However, he added, despite all these intervention efforts and others in addressing Namibia?s electricity supply challenges, the country remains overly reliant on imports, which make up about 60 per cent of its electricity needs.

Regarding access to the electricity grid, Alweendo stated that less than 50 per cent of the country's population was on the grid, adding: "It is clear that we need to find ways to generate more electricity locally and increase its access both in urban and rural areas."

Regarding Namibia's electricity distribution sector, Alweendo informed the forum that this sector has already evolved since the country's independence in 1990, with the establishment of regional electricity distributors (REDs) to enhance the reliability and affordability of electricity.