27 Mar 2014 18:30pm
WINDHOEK, 27 MAR (NAMPA) - The Head of State on Thursday said it is critical for Namibia not to waste time in implementing local projects that will ensure the security of the electricity supply in Namibia.
Delivering the State of the Nation address in the capital, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said the demand for electricity in the country has been on the increase and poses a challenge for Namibia due to its inadequate local power generation capacity.
He added that this situation was exacerbated by a recent announcement by Eskom in South Africa, from where Namibia imports the bulk of its electricity, that the electricity available for export will be reduced significantly.
This will have a direct negative impact on the power supply to Namibia, Pohamba said, adding that in order to ensure a continuous supply of electricity for the country, national power utility NamPower has launched a Short-term Critical Supply Project, covering the period from 2012 to 2016.
The project involves the refurbishment of the Van Eck Coal Power Station in Windhoek and the replacement of turbines on units one, two and three at the Ruacana Hydro-power Station.
It also includes the replacement of all diesel generator sets at the Paratus Power Station in Walvis Bay, and securing short-term power purchase agreements with suppliers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
He said where needs arise, diesel generators will be leased and deployed to meet electricity shortfalls.
Pohamba revealed that progress has been made by both up-stream and down-stream developers of the Kudu Gas-to-Power Project, with a power off-take and equity participation agreement signed between NamPower and the Copperbelt Energy Company of Zambia.
The techno-economic feasibility study and environment social impact assessment study of the Baynes Hydro-power project have been completed, he said, adding that Namibian and Angolan teams will meet in the near future to iron out the remaining issues and decide on a final development scenario for this project.
The completion of these two projects will add more power to the national power grid.
The President explained that the country's investments in the expansion of renewable energy through the Solar Revolving Fund, which is aimed at providing loans for members of the public to acquire solar installations for their homes and businesses, continue.
During the 2013/14 financial year, 441 loans amounting to N.dollars 11,9 million were issued by the fund. Six schools in the Omusati Region were also electrified with containerised solar systems during the period under review.
Pohamba further stated that Namibia has embarked upon the search for oil and gas, noting that while the drilling campaigns undertaken by some companies have not discovered commercial quantities of oil, the data collected during the drilling has proven useful.
We remain hopeful that oil will be discovered in Namibia in the near future, he stressed.