Namibia’s national power utility NamPower says it will lend funds to Zimbabwe Power Corporation (ZPC) to enable the latter to refurbish two thermal power stations in return for guaranteed supplies of electricity.

NamPower managing director Paulinus Shilamba says the utility has agreed in principle to upgrade the facilities to secure guaranteed electricity until 2018, when the US$1.2 billion 800 MW gas fired Kudu power station is commissioned. Namibia imported about 53% of its electricity requirements from neighbouring countries in 2012.

ZPC plans include lifting generation capacity at its plant in Harare to 120 MW from 50 MW, and at the facility in Bulawayo to 90 MW from 30 MW. The funding required to achieve is estimated at US$180 million. Currently Zimbabwe is generating only half of the 2,200 MW it requires.

NamPower wanted the deal structured along a 2007 agreement in which it loaned Zesa US$40 million to refurbish four units at the coal-fired Hwange plant, securing supplies of 150 MW over five years, Shilamba says. “Our deal with Zesa over Hwange power station is ending in 2014 and our expectation is that it should be the benchmark if we finalise an agreement to loan them money to refurbish the two stations.”