More electricity coming

The US$429 million Caprivi Interconnector runs from Zambezi substation near Katima Mulilo in the eastern border with Zambia to inland sub-stations.

Namibia is going to be used to route powerr from either Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the DRC.

Nampower said said the Caprivi Link could also be used to import power directly from the DRC through Zambia.

Nampower MD Paulinus Shilamba said construction would start first quarter 2007 to mid 2009 as the country scrambles to develop new energy sources, with key supplier South Africa expected to run out of excess capacity in 2007.

Major regional electricity suppliers are expected to run out of surplus electricity in 2007.

Shilamba said the link is going to be extended to Zimbabwe via Botswana.

Namibia imports more than 60 percent of its electricity requirements from South Africa and other regional countries.

The country only generates 316 MW against total demand of 375 MW. Imports from Eskom of South Africa have been cut from 88 MW to 58 MW, Shilamba said.

Demand for electricity has been on the increase due to increased investment in the country’s mining sector, particularly uranium, copper and diamond mining industries.

Shilamba said that tenders for the Caprivi Link converter stations closed last month. He said that management is busy with the tender evaluation process.

Shilamba added that Nampower is negotiating with Zimbabwe and Botswana to tap on resources in those two countries.

“Once completed, the transmission interconnection will become important to Namibia and the SADC region as it will serve as a conduit of electricity, complementing our inter-connectivity with South Africa,” Shilamba said.

Hope for long term sustainable electricity supply had been pinned on the long stalled gas to power, Kudu Power Project.

Progress on the Kudu, owned by United Kingdom based Tullow Oil has been bogged down by delays in the conclusion of gas sales agreement between Tullow, Namibian government and Eskom of South Africa, Shilamba said.

Tullow recently said that it would only start delivering gas from the Kudu gas wells in 2010.

Nampower, which is to build a power station downstream of the Kudu Gas Fields said it is on the market to raise more than US$1.3 billion required to fund both the Kudu Power station and Caprivi Interconnector.

“Financing will be made through equity and loans…Nampower is also approaching government on a business case for support,” Shilamba said.

Nampower has not denied reports that the state owned power utility is negotiating for a Euro90 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to partly finance the Caprivi Interconnector, the short term solution to the country’s electricity woes.

December 2006
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