Eskom woes worry Namibia

15 February 2019
Mines and Energy minister, Tom Alweendo has ruled out the possibility of load shedding in the country, despite Eskom, the country’s biggest suppliers of power, having implemented the measures in the neighboring country citing a power production deficit.
According to South African media, at present, Eskom has installed generation capacity of 45 000MW, but the utility is failing to meet peak demand of 27 000MW which it blames on the collapse of seven vital generating units, as demonstrated by the implementation of Stage 4 load shedding, which means around 40 percent of Eskom’s generating capacity is unavailable.
Speaking to the Windhoek Observer, Alweendo said the country’s power supply agreement with Eskom, renewed in 2017 for a five-year period, ensures that Namibia receives its supplies.
“For now, the power purchase agreement we have with Eskom, ensures we will receive what we are supposed to receive from them and will not be affected by loading shedding,” he said.
The Energy minister, however, said Namibia should be worried about the South African power utility’s woes, which according to South African media are expected to escalate.
“The challenge comes in when the situation escalates, where they might have an obligation that needs to be fulfilled, but are not producing enough and that has to worry us,” he said.
Eskom supplies 200MW of power to Namibia and an additional non-firm supply dependent on transmission capacity.
“We have to be worried about what is happening in South Africa with Eskom and this provides an opportunity for us to act faster on local power generation,” Alweendo said.
He said to guarantee power supply, should Eskom suppliers situation worsen, Van Eck Power Station in Windhoek will be brought online.
“We also have the Van Eck Power Station, which is very expensive to run because it is powered by coal, and this is why it’s only activated when we have an emergency,” he said.
Alweendo said the country could also turn to the Southern African Power Pool for supplies.
“We are also a member of the Southern African Power Pool and if there are shortages, we get form members of the power pool,” he said.
Namibia has a total installed electrical generation capacity of 557MW, but available is 467MW due to aging Van Eck power station which is capable of only delivering 30MW from the installed capacity of 120MW due to ageing and imports 60 percent of its total energy requirement to ensure security of supply.
NamPower imports electricity from Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, and Mozambique and from the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP), which is sourced from any other producer in the region.
To increase domestic power generation, NamPower has signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with 19 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to supply 175.5 MW of renewable energy generation projects by 2020.
The energy ministry has also developed a National Integrated Resource Plan (NIRP, a 20-year development plan for Namibia's Electricity Supply Industry (ESI), spanning the period 2016 to 2035, which provides projections of future electricity demand and identifies a mix of least-cost electricity generation options to meet the country's electricity needs in a reliable and efficient manner.
According to IJG Namibia in its 2018 Economic forecasts, Namibia’s energy demand will reach 930MW in 2025 before escalating to 1,330MW by 2035.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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