By Hilary Mare
THE Namibian government is looking to increase its electricity imports from Zimbabwe by an extra 50MW, at no extra cost, Confidente can reveal.
Namibia is currently importing 80 megawatts (MW) of power from the Zimbabwe Power company (ZPC), under a power purchase agreements.
Speaking to Confidente on behalf of Nampower, this week, Tangeni Kambangula, Manager for corporate communication and marketing confirmed that Namibia was negotiating with its Zimbabwe counterparts for a new deal.
“The negotiations for the additional 50MW have started and are on-going. Please take note that there was no additional capital injected by NamPower for the repair and maintenance of Hwange Power Station,” she said.
Kambangula went on to say that, until Namibia has its own base load power plant (a plant that is capable of operating 24 hours a day and is shut down only when routine maintenance is required or due to unforeseen circumstances), imports from neighbouring countries will continue to play a vital role as part of NamPower’s supply base, ensuring that the utility continues to fulfil its mandate which is to ensure security of power supply.
“NamPower recently concluded an agreement for the purchase of 200MW firm power from ESKOM. Hence, in the short term period (next five years), NamPower will be able to ensure security of supply with the current agreements in place,” she added.
Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs Secretary, Joel Bimha, also told Confidente that negotiations to increase power exports to Namibia were now at an advanced stage, after the two countries had relooked at the existing agreement.
“We can confirm that Namibia has expressed a desire to increase the amount of electricity that they are purchasing from Zimbabwe, but this has not yet been finalised,” he said.
In 2007, Nampower signed a power agreement with the ZPC, in which the Namibian power utility gave its Zimbabwean counterpart US$40 million to refurbish the Hwange Thermal Power Station. The debt was repaid through the Namibia importing 100MW during peak periods, and 150MW during off-peak periods, for eight years.
Namibia then renewed the deal, allowing for the provision of 80MW by Zimbabwe for 15 years, starting in April 2015.
In addition to the rehabilitation of the Hwange Thermal Power Station, the new agreement was also to aid the ZPC to raise funds to expand the Kariba South Hydro Power Station by around 300MW. The power station’s current capacity is 700MW.
Namibia currently imports around 80 percent of its power each year, during dry seasons, from surrounding countries.
Apart from the 80MW from ZPC, Namibia is importing up to 200MW from South Africa’s Eskom and 39MW from ZESCO of Zambia.
In the current financial year, the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) has set aside in excess of N$61.6 million to improve energy supply in the country, out of a total budget of N$207,9 million, which is distributed among seven projects.
The Mines and Energy Ministry’s budget vote for the 2017/18 financial year highlights the Kudu Gas and Baynes Hydro Power projects, as strategic for the country, in terms of achieving security of supply.
The ministry said that government is committed to their development.
“Recently Namcor and BW Offshore concluded a partnership for the development of the Kudu Gas Field and it is anticipated that all commercial agreements will be finalised by the end of 2017. The Namibian and Angolan governments are committed to finalise all remaining environmental studies, and outstanding project activities, for the development of the Baynes Hydro Power project,” the ministry explained.
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