Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Ruacana Unit Launched Amid Energy Shortages

The increase in electricity demand experienced in recent years has resulted in an additional 4th Unit at Ruacana Hydro-Power Station.

Power utility, Nampower, in its quest to increase the much needed power supply, added a new turbine with a capacity to generate 92 MW of electricity, therefore expanding the generation capacity of Ruacana Power Station from 240 MW to 332 MW.

Commissioned in 1978, the power station was designed to accommodate four units but only three were installed because electricity demand was not very high back then. However, a power supply deficit experienced in 2006 resulted in NamPower's decision to build and install the 4th unit on 29 October 2007, at a cost of N$750 million, to ensure security of local power supply.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 4th Unit at Ruacana Power Station, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Isak Katali, said that to ensure a sustainable energy mix capable of generating base load power, projects such as the Kudu Gas Power Station and the Erongo Coal-Fired Power Station are running parallel with each other in terms of implementation in order to contribute to the base load power by 2016 and beyond.

A number of renewable energy projects in the form of wind, solar and biomass energy generation are being pursued by the industry and more than ten companies so far have been issued with renewable energy production licenses.

Katali pointed out that as far as the Kudu Project is concerned, his ministry has reaffirmed government's commitment to the development of the project as it remained a corner-stone strategic investment for Namibia aimed at ensuring security of supply for the country.

The minsiter said that Namibia was faced with a risk of an 80 MW deficit envisioned for 2012 which will escalate to more than 300 MW by 2015. He therefore commended NamPower for commissioning numerous projects in the short space of 18 months, and for having mapped the way forward in terms of future generation and transmission capacity.

National demand for electricity has since increased from 451 MW recorded in 2009 to 580 MW, which Katali says is higher than the current combined installed capacity of 500 MW at Ruacana, ANIXAS, Van Eck and Paratus Power Stations, hence the parastatal was faced with the challenge of ensuring security of supply between 2012 and 2015.

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