Ruacana — Namibia will experience a power supply deficit of 80 megawatts (MW) starting with the onset of winter this year, the country's energy utility, NamPower, announced last week.
NamPower Managing Director Paulinus Shilamba made the announcement at the commissioning of the fourth turbine unit by President Hifikepunye Pohamba, last Thursday at the Ruacana hydro power plant in the Omusati Region.
The president warned that the deficit is expected to grow to 250MW next year and to 350MW in 2015.
To address this immediate power supply shortages, the NamPower Board of Directors has approved a number of projects that will be implemented under the Short Term Critical Supply Projects (STCS), which will include the rehabilitation and extension of the life of the Van Eck Power Station by five years; the replacement of all four old machines at the Paratus Power Station at Walvis Bay; the implementation of the Demand Side Management (DSM) programme by raising public awareness on energy saving, as well as the negotiation of new power purchase agreements and engagement with independent power producers.
The projected combined cost of the said projects is approximately N$680 million.
Shilamba also announced large-scale medium and long-term projects such as the Erongo Coal-Fired Power Station, the Kudu Power Project, the Baynes Power Project and the Zizabona Project, which are still on the drawing board or in the process of being implemented.
According to the Minister of Mines and Energy, Isak Katali, significant progress has been made on the Zizabona Project, which involves a $225 million transmission line that will extend from the Hwanga Substation to a switching station near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
The project dubbed Zizabona, an acronym for partners Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, was slated for completion in two phases between 2010 and 2013.
Once it is fully operational, the Zizabona project is expected to ease congestion on the transmission corridor to South Africa, as well as make it easier for the four countries to trade power with each other.
The line would also allow an extra 600 MW to be transmitted around the region to help relieve congestion in the transmission network.
The installation of the fourth turbine unit, which cost approximately N$750 million, was used as a training school for NamPower staff, as well as employment creation for many Namibians.
Moreover, the project prioritized local procurement and the appointment of local companies.
Shilamba also announced that NamPower realized an increase of 27.99 percent in revenue from N$1.8 billion two years ago to N$2.3 billion.