Nampower to Raise Funds for Major Project

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Nampower intends to generate N$3 billion by listing bonds (debt instruments) on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bond Exchange of South Africa next month with a view to use the capital for the construction of the Caprivi Link Power Project. Once completed, the line would link Namibia to the Zambian and Zimbabwean electricity networks. The managing director of the power utility Paulinus Shilamba told New Era yesterday that through the stock exchange the money raised would be used to partially fund its major capital projects. “The initiative will be the first of its kind in Namibia and also for South Africa. We will launch the registration in Windhoek and then go to South Africa. A big banquet will be held in celebrating the launch,” Shilamba said. The project consists of the building of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) converter stations, HVDC and High Voltage Alternative Current (HVAC) overhead transmission lines and associated transmission station developments. The Caprivi Link Interconnector will be a 400 MW bipolar scheme, upgradeable to 600 MW with minimal downtime and minimal high cost transmission station material that will become obsolete.ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚  It will comprise of a 970 km High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) bipolar line with earth return which will connect the new converter stations at Zambezi Transmission Station located near Katima Mulilo, with Gerus Transmission Station located between Otjiwarongo and Outjo. The operating voltage of this bipolar line will be ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚±350 kV DC. In conjunction with this line, the 400 kV AC transmission system in Namibia will be extended from Auas Transmission Station to Gerus Transmission Station by constructing a 285 km 400 kV AC transmission line and associated transmission station extensions at Auas, Gerus and Zambezi transmission stations. According to Shilamba, progress has been recorded in ensuring that the project starts full operation by 2009. The first phase, which involved the construction of a 220 kV line from Victoria Falls to Katima Mulilo, was completed in September 2006. The second phase involving the construction of a line from the Zambezi substation in Katima Mulilo to Gerus in Otjiwarongo is expected to commence also next month. Through its tender and procurement policy, two international companies were short-listed to carry out the construction. “We just have to discuss technical specifications before work starts, probably in June 2007,” he said. The second phase, the managing director added, will cost Nampower about N$3 billion just for the direct line and the two converters. Nampower through its Guidelines to Procurement of International Financial Institutions recently held meetings with the European Investment Bank, African Investment Bank, French Investment Bank, and the Development Bank of Namibia for concessionary loans. Although Shilamba could not reveal figures, he said that all financial institutions contacted are prepared to render support to the project. As power concerns in the country and the entire SADC region remain high, Shilamba said plans are under way to launch or formalize what he termed Demand Market Participation (DMP). This entails approaching big companies to reduce their power consumption for a few hours during periods when there is insufficient power supply especially from Namibia’s main importer Eskom. “We request companies like RÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶ssing and Namdeb to reduce demand for a short period and then compensate (in monetary form),” he explained. This initiative is aimed at minimizing load shedding. User tariffs is another initiative to be introduced. Customers especially those who use electricity for domestic purposes will be encouraged to use power during off-peak hours at special rates. The initiative is to be introduced before the year ends. The managing director said that another alternative idea would be the introduction of a Ripple Control System whereby municipalities will be requested to switch off all the geysers for a specific period during the day. Unfortunately, only Windhoek and Walvis Bay have such facilities. Nampower is considering approaching municipalities all over the country to introduce the system but the main challenge is funding as such an undertaking would cost between N$50-N$60 million.