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Namibia faces electricity shortage

Windhoek at night 
Windhoek, Namibia — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 29 February 2012 – Namibia is facing an electricity shortage this winter, and despite the efforts of NamPower to develop a culture of energy saving, many businesses and organisations in the country leave their lights on at night and over weekends.

Mines and energy minister Isak Katali says Namibia will face an electricity shortfall of about 80 megawatts (MW) this winter, which could result in blackouts at times of high demand.

The country’s main source of power generation is the Ruacana hydropower station, which has a current maximum generating capacity of 249 MW. The maximum capacity of the power station is set to increase when the fourth turbine, currently being installed, comes on line in April this year.

The fourth turbine will have a maximum capacity of 92MW, which will take the power station’s maximum generating capacity to 370MW.

This figure remains well below Namibia’s current average daily electricity consumption of 440MW, which is also an increase of 70MW from March last year when the average daily electricity usage stood at 370MW, reports “The Namibian”.

Katali has says the electricity deficit will continue to increase every year, with a shortfall of
300 MW forecast for 2015. Namibia is a net importer of over 50% of its electricity demand, and as a result will always be directly affected by the regional power supply situation, which has been critical since 2008.

Yet despite this dire outlook, the lights are left on around the clock at many buildings and public facilities in Windhoek, “The Namibian” states.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is one such culprit, along with the Windhoek Municipality where a large number of office lights are left on after working hours and over weekends, the newspaper adds. Another guilty party is the Wernhil Park shopping mall in Windhoek, where the lights in its new three-storey parking facility are left on 24 hours a day.

Tangeni Kambangula, NamPower head of corporate communications, says NamPower will soon announce the second phase of its electricity-saving awareness campaign. She did not reveal any details before the launch of the campaign.