Wärtsilä, the company which has been pushing to develop the stalled 120MW Arandis Power project, is planning to set up a 50MW solar PV project, with a local company, Natura Energy.
Mark Zoeters, Business Development Manager, Africa East Wärtsilä Energy Solutions told the Windhoek Observer the company was eyeing the solar project, but was tightlipped on details such as cost and location of the project.
Zoeters, however, said the company was still pushing through with the Arandis Power Project.
“We do not believe that the project is dead at all; on the contrary. We must remember that there are two ‘Arandis Power’ projects. The Arandis Power2 project that participated in the 250MW NamPower tender is definitely off the table as the validity of that tender was successfully challenged by Arandis Power (Pty) Ltd in the Namibian courts.”
Zoeters said Wärtsilä firmly believes that the original 120MW Arandis Power heavy fuel oil (HFO) proposal, presented two years before the 250MW tender, is still very much relevant in the Namibian power context today.
“In fact NamPower on the 2 August presented its 2019-2023 strategy that clearly indicates the requirement for 150MW of baseload technology. The Arandis Power 120MW HFO project responds perfectly in our opinion, to this requirement as not only can the plant perform a baseload services as and when required, but more importantly in our view, the plant can assist Namibia develop even further its renewable energy sector (solar PV and wind generation) because the Arandis Power plant will greatly assist the national grid to overcome the intermittent character of renewable energies. If gas will be available in Namibia in the future, the engines running on HFO can be switched to gas, further supporting sustainability.”
He said Wärtsilä remains available to participate in any power project in Namibia and on the continent that is both economically viable and that is within the scope of its core competencies.
“In fact we have already built more than 7000MW of power generation capacity in Africa alone. The 5MW solar PV projects that have been developed in Namibia are perhaps too small for the structure of our engineering, procurement and construction offer but Namibia remains an important market for us.”
Zoeters said Wärtsilä has a dedicated subsidiary Wärtsilä Development and Financial Services that does consider taking a minority equity stake at times in well-structured and well developed projects.
He said Wärtsilä wants a minority stake in Arandis Power project because it believes that it is a good project for the country.
The company’s latest delivered project to South Africa was Sasolburg, a 175MW gas fired flexible base load power plant.
“The energy and power generation sector is very exciting because it is the bloodline of any economy. However, the complexity of projects needs to be approached with rational inputs and great expertise in order to make it successful, so the country will benefit from this throughout the lifecycle of the project.”
Wärtsilä has 68 GW of installed power plant capacity in 177 countries around the world.