By Henry Chibulu WINDHOEK The construction project of the Baynes hydro-electricity power station that is co-funded by NamPower and ENE, an Angolan power utility, will start soon following the signing of a bilateral agreement between the two governments. NamPower’s Managing Director Paulinus Shilamba said both governments have pledged to support a site which is economically, environmentally and technically viable. “We expect to generate 360 MW from the Baynes project to be built on the Kunene River in Angola. We are confident this project will address the problems of electricity faced in the country,” said the NamPower executive. NamPower has all along supported the Epupa site because it offers huge supply security for Namibia and the dam could generate electricity in times of drought for periods of up to four years, though there are environmental concerns. The Baynes project that was supported by ENE, could only generate electricity for one year in times of drought and has a minimal environmental impact. According to Shilamba, a recent Cabinet meeting passed a resolution in support of the project and has since appointed a technical team headed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Joseph Iita. “The Namibian Government is in full support of this project and has set up a team comprised of permanent secretary of mines and energy, Attorney General and a director in the Ministry of Agriculture to offer policy guidance,” he explained. He said a team – the Permanent Joint Technical Commission (PJTC) – would offer policy guidance on the implementation of the power project. Shilamba further said a high level delegation of technical experts from NamPower, NamWater and a director from the Ministry of Mines and Energy will travel to Angola for a three-day meeting to be held in Kapanda from July 27 to 30. He explained the meeting will look at ways of developing the new power project and the bilateral agreement that was signed by the two countries. It will also discuss possibilities of regulating the usage of water from Gove Dam in Kunene Province built by the Portuguese, as well as the Caleque Dam also in Angola that supplies water to the northern parts of Namibia. Shilamba said all people who will be displaced as a result of the construction of the planned power station would be fully compensated. He added that measures would also be put in place to ensure the construction process does not disturb the eco-system. The NamPower chief further said the project that will take between eight and 10 years to complete, will create job opportunities for both Namibian and Angolan nationals. Power supply will be boosted to meet the ever-growing demand. Shilamba added that the two governments will only offer policy guidance and provide funding for the project. He said a budgetary allocation of N$1, 89 billion for the project is based on feasibility studies conducted in 1998 but stated that the figure will now change due to inflationary and other economical factors. “Our budget will definitely change and this will not affect the implementation process of the project,” said Shilamba. Namibia imports electricity from neighbouring South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe to meet domestic consumption.
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