By Petronella Sibeene
WINDHOEK – Namibia is now receiving 80 megawatts of electricity from Zimbabwe, up from the 40 megawatts that it started receiving in January, making the power situation in the country manageable.
NamPower Corporate Affairs and Marketing Manager, John Kaimu, yesterday confirmed to New Era that as from yesterday, the utility started receiving an additional 40 megawatts, bringing the total electricity coming from Zimbabwe to 80 megawatts.
The supply of electricity by Zimbabwe emanates from a power purchase agreement signed in February last year by NamPower and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).
The US$40 million (N$290 million) power purchase agreement signed by the two parties was for the refurbishment of four generators at the Hwange Power Station.
Unit 3 of the major thermal power station is already fully operational, hence the beginning of supply of 40 megawatts to Namibia in January.
Once repairs on all the four units are complete, the station will inject 480MW into the Zimbabwean main electricity grid.
The procurement of spares and services for the four units is at various stages of finalisation and by October, the work is expected to be complete.
Zimbabwe will then export 150 megawatts to Namibia for five years, said Kaimu.
“With the additional 40MW from Zesa, the demand side management measures and the general increased awareness of energy saving by the public we can assure the public, that NamPower is in control of the situation,” Kaimu said.
Minister of Mines and Energy, Erkki Nghimtina, says the Zesa/NamPower agreement was a reflection of the excellent relations that so happily exist between the two countries.
The agreement also cements the much-needed regional cooperation to ease the power supply challenges of the two countries.
In addition to the US$40 million transferred to Zimbabwe for revamping the power station, NamPower earlier announced it would have to give another US$10 million for the same project.
According to Kaimu, the additional US$10 million is available but not utilised as the two parties are trying to optimise the existing funds through efficient project management processes, which could result in huge savings.
“Should we realise that additional funds are needed, a portion of US$10 million or the total US$10 million can be released,” he added.
NamPower said additional funding could win the power utility an additional 30 to 35 megawatts but that will have to be negotiated.
Kaimu reminded the public that the challenge of shortage of power supply will remain a reality for the next three to five years, hence NamPower’s appeal to the public to use electricity sparingly.
Within the next critical years, NamPower is expected to spend approximately N$10 billion to counter acute power shortages experienced in the country.
Also this year, the Government in its 2008/9 budget allocated N$610 million to NamPower, funds that should be directed towards emergency projects.
Emergency projects include the installation of 50 megawatts diesel generators at Paratus.
The project regarded as the first phase of similar projects will be implemented in the next five to six months, Kaimu said.
Installation of one diesel generator will cost NamPower approximately N$500 million.
The second phase to be undertaken within 12 to 18 months will see the installation of an additional 100 megawatts generator at the coastal area.
Namibia has power installation capacity of 384 megawatts with the maximum demand standing at 449 megawatts. Forecast demand by 2030 is at 1?