By Petronella Sibeene
NamPower will have to fork out an additional US$10 million towards the refurbishment of the Hwange Power Station in Zimbabwe.
This comes seven months after the national power utility signed a US$40 million (N$290 million) Power Purchase Agreement with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).
Managing Director of NamPower, Paulinus Shilamba, yesterday said the need for additional funding was found necessary after a close inspection of the four units to be revamped at the aging power station.
The additional amount will be sourced from NamPower’s internal resources.
Today, NamPower and Zesa officials are meeting in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, to discuss the matter.
So far, NamPower has transferred more than half of the US$40 million to Zimbabwe.
NamPower is responsible for funding equipment procurement and labour costs, while Zesa caters for local costs, Shilamba told New Era.
The agreement between the two utilities stipulates that Namibia will receive 150 megawatts of electricity from the coal-fired Hwange Power Station.
It is anticipated that Namibia will receive the first 40 of the 150 megawatts as soon as the first generator is rehabilitated. Work on the generator is expected to be completed by next month.
According to Shilamba, once NamPower injects the additional US$10 million, Namibia will be guaranteed an additional 30 megawatts, raising the total to 180 megawatts.
Asked what would happen should Zesa fail to deliver according to the contract, Shilamba said the two parties signed a firm contract, which means Zesa will have to supply the agreed amount of power to NamPower by the agreed time.
Should Zesa face any challenges, it will have to source the power from elsewhere and supply it to Namibia, Shilamba added.
He also said although the signing of the power deal with Zesa initially received criticism from some sectors, this has been the best deal NamPower has ever struck with any country in terms of power purchase and value for money.
“We will prove the critics wrong. We know there are some individuals who do not want sister utilities to do business together,” he said.
Shilamba said substantial progress has been made on the rehabilitation of the first unit of the power station.
“Structures have been put in place and most of the spare parts have already arrived on the site. The bulk of the turbine spare parts were received at Hwange in October,” he said.
Minister of Mines and Energy, Erkki Nghimtina, last month visited the Hwange Power Station to assess progress on the project.
He reported that Namibia would receive the first 40 megawatts from Zimbabwe next month as agreed.
Electricity from the Hwange Power Station would be routed to Namibia through South Africa until NamPower’s Caprivi Link Interconnector is operational.
NamPower’s engagement with Zesa is one of the local utility’s ways of ensuring alternative energy sources in light of diminishing power generation in the country and the SADC region.
Another initiative undertaken by NamPower was the distribution of thousands of energy saving bulbs.
Shilamba said since the programme commenced in October, about 600ǟ