Arandis Power plant construction delayed

05 Feb 2015 13:10pm
WINDHOEK, 05 FEB (NAMPA) - The Managing Director of the much-talked-about Arandis Power plant, Ezio Vernetti has called on Nampower to resume negotiations on the establishment of the 120-megawatt (MW) Hybrid solar project.
Arandis Power spent N.dollars 40 million to complete the full bankable feasibility study, including full EIA clearance, construction and operations’ contracts and fuel supply agreements, amongst others.
The negotiations of the envisaged power plant were, however, suspended last year.
The negotiations on the power plant were temporarily suspended by NamPower in June 2014, pending the latter’s completion of its tender for another 250MW power station in Walvis Bay.
“Our position is that we remain hopeful that NamPower will resume negotiations with us on our original 120MW HFO Hybrid solar project as soon as possible.
We have enjoyed good relations with NamPower thus far, but our hope is that the company resumes the negotiations,” Vernetti told Nampa in an interview on Thursday.
These negotiations were temporarily suspended to allow NamPower time to complete its tender for another 250MW power station.
Arandis Power also participated in the 250MW tender, and came second out of 31 international companies.
NamPower has selected Xaris Energy as its 'preferred bidder', but Arandis Power is currently the official “reserve bidder”.
Xaris intends to build a 250MW gas-fired liquid natural gas (LNG) power plant in Walvis Bay.
It was reported in local newspapers late last year that NamPower had previously come under fire for awarding the tender of the construction of the power plant to Xaris Energy, a company which critics felt had no sound experience in the business.
Reports also have it that Xaris Energy has a direct and indirect share ownership which includes ruling Swapo-Party Secretary-General Nangolo Mbumba and the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Nickey Iyambo.
Other indirect political beneficiaries of the company include Swapo councillor Gerson Kamatuka, Loide Amkongo and Nadimi Nangolo.
Efforts to get comment from Nampower on when negotiations would resume with Arandis Power, proved futile.
The development of the 120 MW hybrid heavy fuel oil power-generation plant in Namibia is aimed at contributing almost 25 per cent to Namibia's power requirements.
The planned solar plant is called 'hybrid' because it is where thermal and solar energy will merge.
Currently, Namibia imports more than 60% of its electricity needs from neighbouring countries.
The plant, which was expected to be up-and-running in 2016, is considered as a short-term, critical energy supply project until the Kudu gas power project starts functioning in 2018.
Meanwhile, the Arandis power plant is said to consist of eight 15MW heavy fuel oil (HFO) engines, with the ninth being a solar park with a capacity of up to 50 MW of photovoltaic panels.
Arandis Power is developing this initiative in association with the private utility company Copperbelt Energy Corporation of Zambia and a Finland-based company called Wärtsilä.