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Namibia hydropower: NamPower can’t export to South Africa

On Monday, Namibia’s state power utility NamPower confirmed it will not be supplying hydroelectric power to South Africa due to a lack of surplus energy generation because of low rainfall.

NamPower chief executive Paulinus Shilamba said the country is not in a position to support its neighbour during its current energy battle, StarAfrica news reported.

Shilamba commented: “Although we [NamPower] want to help out, at the present moment we can’t export electricity to them because we have not received enough rain at our Southern borders with Angola.

“This means that there is not enough water at the Ruacana Hydropower Station thus we are not producing surplus electricity.”

Shilamba however confirmed that state utility NamPower is still in a tri-party agreement with Botswana and South Africa and will supply electricity to each other when there is surplus generation.

He said: “It was because of this agreement that NamPower when it was in a fortunate position in January assisted the two utilities when much needed power was requested from them. If there was enough we could have exported the whole year.”

Ruacana Falls hydroelectric power station

NamPower: Ruacana hydroelectric power station. Pic credit: kunenerak
NamPower: Ruacana hydroelectric power station in northwest Namibia. Pic credit: kunenerak

The Namibia hydropower station at Ruacana Falls is located in the northwest of Namibia. The 332MW power plant is the country’s predominant source of power, contributing an estimated 60% of power.

On average Namibia has 300 day of sunshine a year, according to Info-Namibia. Climate change therefore poses a major risk to the country’s electricity supply as a low rainfall season can impact the hydropower plant’s performance.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.


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