Power situation worrisome but manageable
At a media briefing held at NamPower head quarters this week, the power utility company in the country, NamPower, has assured that no serious power disruptions are to be expected during the period 2014 to 2015.
Managing Director at NamPower, Paulinus Shilamba, stated that “although the power supply situation will remain challenging during this period, the situation will be manageable.”
“NamPower has put adequate measures in place to address the situation and therefore no serious power supply disruptions will be expected,” he reiterated.
He added that the power demand has long surpassed supply, and that the situation has necessitated NamPower to put such short, medium and long term measures in place to ensure security of supply.
Following the recent rainy season, Shilamba expressed gratitude as he stated: “We are pleased to inform you that it was only recently that the Kunene River flow picked up, allowing us to generate power at full capacity at Ruacana.”
“Ruacana’s operation has a direct impact on the average cost of energy supply to Namibia, and the more we are able to generate from the plant, the better for Namibia. We are generating at full capacity at the moment as we have a very high water capacity, with the water flowing at a rate of 750 cubic metres per second,” he explained.
One of the projects forming part of their short to medium projects to ensure the stability of the power situation is the replacement of turbine runners at Ruacana. “With the investment of approximately N$55 million, which includes the replacement of the turbine runners and major parts as well as refurbishing of some turbine component have various contributing factors. The newly designed runners will improve the current turbine efficiency levels from 81 to 84 percent and increase the maximum output with 15MW from the current 322MW to 347MW,” he said.
The installation of the first runner is expected to start the second week in May 2014, with the last runner to be commissioned by February 2015.
“During this project period, Ruacana will only have three units available for generation, which means that once a unit has been taken out of service, all project works on that unit must be completed before the next unit is taken out,” Shilamba said.
Commenting on the recent power outages, Shilamba stated that the power cuts had nothing to do with NamPower, as they are only a bulk supplier supplying distributors, and that power outages can be attributed to the distribution level.