NamPower won’t export power to SA


Windhoek –  Namibia’s power utility, Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) cannot export electricity to South Africa because the country has not received enough rain to generate surplus power.

NamPower chief executive officer Paulinus Shilamba said although Namibia feels for South Africa in their current electricity shortages, it was not in a position to help its southern neighbour.

As a result of the power shortages, load shedding in South Africa has been increased across the country since November last year, which culminated in the recent suspension of Eskom’s chief executive officer, Tshediso Matona and other senior officials.

Shilamba told The Southern Times this week that although Eskom and NamPower’s traders are in daily discussions regarding the exportation and importation of electricity, it has been decided that the latter is not in a position to bail out the South African utility.

“Although we want to help out, at the present moment we can’t export electricity to them because we have not received enough rain in the Southern borders with Angola. This means that there is not enough water at the Ruacana Hydro Power Station thus we are not producing surplus electricity,” he explained.

Shilamba has however said that they are not ruling out the possibility of exporting electricity to South Africa.

“NamPower has an agreement with Eskom and the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) to supply each other with electricity when there is a surplus. It was because of this agreement that NamPower when it was in a fortunate position in January assisted the two utilities when they needed power. If there was enough we could have exported the whole year,” he said.

Shilamba also said that the suspension of the Eskom CEO and other bosses will not hinder the relationship that exists between the two utilities.

“NamPower and Eskom are above individuals, if Shilamba is not here today it does not mean that the relationship won’t continue. It’s the same as with a country, if the President leaves office, another one will come in and things will move on,” he said.

He also revealed that NamPower has devised a plan to ensure that the country will not experience load shedding at least until mid-2016.

“We have put up measures in place and we have good enough capacity to sustain the country until at least next year. The plan is set out to make us aware how much we will consume, how much we need to export and how to cope with the shortage. I am however not ruling out the possibility of shortages if it’s an act of God. This means that we can’t prevent lightning from striking a transmission line and we can do nothing if the dams are not receiving enough rain.

“But all in all apart from the acts of God, we have done a lot to make sure that we prevent black outs. Among those is the Van Eck Power Station which has been rehabilitated and it will start to fully function in June this year. We have also roped in people to provide skills as well as to strengthen and maintain the national grid in a superior condition to ensure an efficient and effective network with minimum disruption. I can assure you that we will not have load shedding at least until mid-next year.”

NamPower hopes by the time the country runs out of options the much talked about 800MW (nominal) Kudu Power Station which will be located 25km north of Oranjemund will be in place.

The Kudu Power Station will be the first Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power station of this size in Southern Africa and is expected to be commissioned by end of 2017.

March 2015
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