Government halt Xaris gas power plant at Walvis

16 Jun 2015 19:10pm
HUSAB, 16 JUN (NAMPA) – Plans to develop a 250 MegaWatts (MW) gas powered plant at Walvis Bay were put on hold as Government is exploring better ways to meet the country’s power demand.
Xaris Energy, a Namibian company that won the power generation tender from NamPower, has a 200MW licence on the project but has also applied for a 300 MW license which is not yet approved.
Mines and Energy Minister, Obed Kandjoze on Monday told reporters upon enquiry that the project is “parked” until further notice.
He was on a familiarisation tour to Swakop Uranium’s Husab Mine outside Arandis.
“It is standing where it is right now as Government is exploring other ways to generate power. The cost escalated from N.dollars 3 billion to N.dollars 8 billion; this is too high for a project of that nature,” said the minister.
Another reason the project is not a priority right now is that the exploration licence is 25 years, which is too long as the gas powered plant is supposed to be temporary until the Kudu Gas to Power is operational by 2016.
The Xaris project is part of a broader strategy to meet the country’s immediate power crisis and is intended only as a relief mechanism on a temporary basis.
Kandjoze assured that the Kudu Gas project is viable and the process of implementing it is on track.
He said Government has hopes for Kudu, but is also looking at other ways of generating power such as the sun and wind.
“The final investment decisions on the Kudu project are expected by the end of this month and the implementation in 2016,” he said.
Kandjoze said Namibia must find a way to generate more power before 2016, especially when exploration at the Husab Uranium Mine begins.
“This mine is currently using 10 MW and will increase to 50 MW at operation. This is one of the reasons we need to generate more than 250 MW immediately,” he said.
About his five-day visit to mines in Erongo Region, the minister said he is looking at the progress of construction work at Husab, the training of local employees and women empowerment.
“I have also been in discussions with trade unions representing mine workers regarding industrial relations. My advice is that we find better ways of bargaining so that we do not hamper economic progress,” he told reporters.
Kandjoze further said his visit also includes looking at water supply at mines.
“It is important for me to understand all these dynamics so that I can report back to Cabinet about the situation on the ground because only then the right cautions could be taken. Another priority is to find ways to use our resources to create jobs and alleviate poverty,” he said.
Kandjoze will visit the Langer Heinrich Uranium and Rossing Uranium mines on Wednesday and Thursday this week before returning to the office to compile a report for submission to Cabinet.