Paulinus Shilamba
Nampower managing director Paulinus Shilamba said Unit 1 of Van Eck power plant will come back online in April 2015

In Namibia, NamPower’s managing director Paulinus Shilamba announced on Monday that the first unit of the state-owned utility’s Van Eck power station outside the capital Windhoek is expected to come back online during April 2015 with the last unit expected to return to service at the end of September 2015.

Shilamba said when Van Eck is back online, the plant will generate its full capacity of 120MW and a guaranteed base-load output of 90MW for the next 10 years at least.

Ruacana hydroelectric power plant

Meanwhile, at the Ruacana hydroelectric power plant, maintenance teams have successfully replaced the runner for Unit 1, which was completed and commissioned on December 4, 2014, “with the replacement of runners for Unit 2 and 3 expected to be done during the low flow season and to be commissioned before the end of this year”, Shilamba said.

He added: “With the completion of the project, the efficiency of the Ruacana power station will improve significantly and with the same volume of water, the maximum output will increase by 15MW from the current 322MW to 347MW.”

Power purchase from regional utilities

According to Shilamba, NamPower is constantly renegotiating new and existing power purchase agreements (PPA) with neighbouring power utilities.

“A new 80MW PPA, signed with ZPC (Zimbabwe) on October 16, 2014, became effective on April 1, 2015. The agreement is structured to supply up to 350GWh in a calendar year and is profiled to supplement the seasonality of Ruacana. The term of this agreement is 15 years, with the option to reduce the capacity to 50MW after 10 years from the date of coming into its operation,” Shilamba revealed.

“Negotiations with EDM (Mozambique) for 80 to 100MW mid-merit power have been concluded and the new PPA should be signed between the two utilities within the next few months.”

NamPower’s existing 90MW PPA with Aggreko will come to an end in August 2015 and is currently under re-negotiation.

The existing Supplementary Agreement with Eskom for up to 200MW, which expired in March 2015, is also under re-negotiation, Shilamba added.

Annual tariff hikes

NamPower also announced this week that electricity tariffs will increase by 13% per year for the next five years until the Kudu gas-to-power project is in operation.

NamPower managing director Paulinus Shilamba said in a statement that the country’s peak demand recorded on 5 March, 2015 was 524MW (excluding Skorpion Zinc Mine) against a peak supply of 300MW recorded from local generation.

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Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl has been working in the African power, energy and water sectors since 2011, first with African Utility Week and now as the Editor of ESI Africa. She is also an Advisory Board member of the Global and African Power & Energy Elites publications. With her passion for sustainable business and placing African countries on the international stage, Nicolette takes a keen interest in current affairs and technology trends.