Eveline de Klerk
Walvis Bay-To address the continuous population growth in Walvis Bay and keep up with the high electricity demand that will increase significantly once the Port of Walvis Bay, as well as the SADC Gateway Port reach full capacity, the regional electricity distributor, Erongo Red, commissioned a state-of-the-art substation at Walvis Bay on Friday.
The project was a joint venture between Erongo Red and Nampower. It cost about N$570 million, of which Erongo Red paid N$270 million through a loan obtained from the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN).
Speaking during the commissioning, Erongo Red CEO Fessor Mbango said since its inception the firm has made significant investments aimed at improving the regional network and said the Walvis Bay upgrade was by far the company’s biggest project to date.
Currently, Walvis Bay’s electricity consumption is about 60-megawatt and has put added strain on the network. However, with the upgrading the town’s growing demand will be met by the station’s 120-megawatt transfer capacity at 11 kilovolt.
Mbango said the utility’s priority is to ensure the electricity network is robust enough to meet the growing demand, as economic conditions improve.
“Our position has always been to reinvest in our network and to ensure that we provide exceptional services to our customers. Our vision is to bring electricity to all by 2020 and upgrading our network is very crucial in our drive to fulfil this vision.
“Hence, this upgrade will enable us to address critical problems by improving reliability, enabling critical upgrades to be undertaken, reducing network constraints and minimising unplanned interruptions,” he said. Mbango added that construction of the new intake substation was started in 2013 by ABB Namibia.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Energy Simeon Negumbo said electricity is a vehicle for economic emancipation and welcomed the fact that Erongo Red and stakeholders were partnering to develop critical infrastructure for the benefit Walvis Bay, but also the whole country.
He said: “As you are aware, Walvis Bay is of strategic importance to the whole country, thus it is very important that we have the infrastructure to cater for all the current and envisaged projects. We cannot afford to experience unnecessary load shedding and outages in the future, just because we failed to invest in the infrastructure today.”