28 May 2010 – The new Caprivi electricity power line, which will add at least 300 megawatt of power imports for Namibia, will be switched on the same day as the Fifa World Cup kicks off in South Africa on June 11.
NamPower’s managing director Paulinus Shilamba told a news conference on Friday that the N$3,2 billion Caprivi interconnector, which will link Namibia directly with its northern neighbours, had undergone preliminary testing last week and would be "energised to do live testing" from today.
"Some time ago the South African power utility Eskom has told its regional customers that during the Fifa World Cup it would have difficulties to supply electricity and that power utilities should find their own electricity supply" Shilamba said.
An agreement "pledged to keep power imports from South Africa to a minimum during the soccer event. With the Caprivi link operational from June 11 onwards NamPower can even assist South Africa with power supply and we offered Eskom we could export to them, would that become necessary. "
NamPower, he said, had put all local power stations like the 120 MW coal-fired Van Eck plant outside Windhoek on alert. Also the Paratus diesel station at Walvis Bay, which can supply 24 MW and the 240 MW hydro power plant at Ruacana during the Fifa soccer event.
"We have also serviced all our transmission lines," Shilamba added.
The electricity via the 951-kilometre-long Caprivi interconnector link will be imported from Zimbabwe, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and thus reduce the dependence on South Africa.
Namibia imports about sixty per cent of its electricity.
The NamPower MD added that the Anixas diesel power station at Walvis Bay was on track. It will add 22,5 MW of electricity into the national grid, apart from the existing 24 MW which comes from the Paratus diesel plant at the harbour town.
"Total costs for Anixas come to N$375 million of which N$250 [million] comes from Government and N$125 [million] from NamPower," Shilamba said.
Anixas will come into operation early next year and will be a new emergency and standby power station for the country to guarantee electricity supply to the coast and the fast-expanding uranium mining sector in the Erongo Region.
Namibia has an installed capacity of nearly 400 MW, with 240 MW coming from Ruacana, but only if the Kunene River carries sufficient waters after good rains in Angola.
A fourth turbine of 90 MW will be added to the Ruacana power station at a cost of N$750 million. It is expected to be operational around March 2012 and altogether 370 MW can then be supplied from Ruacana.