Van Eck Will Still Operate


By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Nampower Managing Director Paulinus Shilamba is expected to address workers at the Van Eck Power Station soon following a report about the planned closure of the coal-powered electricity plant. Workers at the plant queried the move which affects their future with regard to employment. This comes in the wake of a report in New Era that the Van Eck coal-powered station might cease operations given the introduction of the low-energy compact fluorescent lights (CFL) project. According to Shilamba, the plant will not close down completely but remain in use as always. Nampower during supply constraints runs up and operates the Van Eck to alleviate shortages. In an earlier interview with New Era, Shilamba said the Van Eck station, whose generation capacity is 120 megawatts, would cease generation should the CFL project prove sustainable and cost-effective. The other reason is that generation from within the country has become increasingly difficult, as coal import prices remain high. “With other generators, generation price is 19 cents per kilowatt per hour while at Van Eck it is 47 cents per kilowatt per hour,” he said. Van Eck was built in the early seventies, and when the first power was distributed from this power station distribution lines were connected to the 66 and 220 kV yards. Located in the Northern Industrial Area, Van Eck is easily recognizable with its two 103-metre high smokestacks or chimneys. It is 1 615 metres above sea level with an atmospheric pressure of 825-meter bar. The first two units were commissioned in 1972, the third in 1973 and the fourth in 1979. Nampower says Van Eck was the first power station to implement the dry cooling method in southern Africa. The station works by feeding coal into a boiler by means of coal feeders, which spray the coal onto the grate, which moves forward at a set speed. The coal is then burnt in the boiler to produce heat for heating the water in the boiler tubes which in turn produce steam fed into the turbines. The turbines then turn the generator.