Energy crunch averted
The Minister of Mines and Energy this week assured the public that the predicted winter energy shortage will be avoided as South African power utility, Eskom, with excess power in its system will supply Namibia with sufficient power for the year.
According to the national power utility, NamPower, there is enough energy for the coming winter and beyond with no risk of load shedding. In a joint statement released this week by Nampower and the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the minister, Hon. Obeth Kandjoze said that the national maximum demand of 630MW expected for the coming winter will be met not considering the energy demands of the Skorpion Zinc mine near the town of Rosh Pinah.
Of the total 4015.9 GigaWatt hours required for the year, NamPower will be sourcing about 40% from local sources such as the Ruacana hydro power plant with installed capacity of 347 MW, Van Eck’s coal powered station with installed capacity of 80 MW, the Anixas diesel power station (22.3 MW) and the newest online addition of the Omburu solar power plant with 4.5 MW.
“The Ruacana hydro power station is a run-of-the-river station and due to good rains experienced this year in the highlands of Angola, a favourable percentage of the total installed capacity from the power station will be available,” Kandjoze said.
NamPower is also in the process of procuring a temporary base load power plant with a capacity of 40 to 120 MW to increase the current installed capacity. The joint statement explained that NamPower will be supplementing the remaining 60% with imports from the state-owned power company in Zambia (ZESCO) with 39 MW, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) with 80 MW at a load capacity of 50%, while the remaining balance will be supplied by Eskom.
NamPower is at various stages of implementing renewable energy generation projects such as the Renewable Energy Feed-In-Tariff programme (70MW), Greenam solar projects (20MW) and Diaz wind project (44MW), which will assist to bridge the gap until the commissioning of a base load power plant.
Speaking at the 7th Association of Electricity Distribution Undertakings in Namibia (AEDU) in Otjiwarongo this week, the Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon. Kornelia Shilunga, said the National Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP) is currently under review with industry players having been invited to make contributions to investigate all local generation options.
“A large amount of ground work has been completed over the past few years and it is trusted that the plan will make a meaningful contribution to the Namibian environment, with assistance from the industry, Shilunga said, adding that the industry is exposed to a changing environment and is trying to find its feet in the new normal with distribution companies having to evolve and becoming generators and also energy traders by having to secure supply from suppliers other than the national utility, NamPower.
Hon Kandjoze said there will be no load shedding as it can have serious repercussions on economic stability. Nampower’s Annual Report for 2014/2015 predicted extensive power cuts and load shedding for the coming winter which Kandjoze said may have been factual at the time.