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Caprivi Power Line Closer to Reality

Aug 29, 2007 - The Namibian/All Africa Global Media

NAMIBIA'S power utility, NamPower, says it is ready for the construction of the first phase of the N$3,21 billion Caprivi Link Interconnector Project.

The line will connect the electricity networks of Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique and South Africa to create an alternative route for power imports and exports to and from neighbouring countries.

NamPower's Marketing and Communications Manager, John Kaimu, announced yesterday that the Board of Directors had approved the N$3,21 billion budget for the project.

This will put the company in a position to award tenders, presently under evaluation, for the construction of the line and converter stations within the next few weeks.

This will be the first time the Caprivi electrical network is connected to the rest of the Namibian power grid.

The Caprivi Link Interconnector will be a 400-MW bipolar scheme, upgradeable to 600 MW, and will comprise a 970-km high voltage direct current (HVDC) bipolar line that will connect the new converter stations at the Zambezi transmission station, located near Katima Mulilo, with the Gerus transmission station, located between Otijiwarongo and Outjo.

Converter stations at Gerus and Zambezi will convert conventional AC power to DC and vice versa, depending on the required power flow.

"The phase one development will theoretically allow a power flow of up to 300MW," Kaimu said.

The decision followed shortly after NamPower had issued N$500 million worth of 13-year corporate bonds.

"The N$500 million was oversubscribed and attracted N$820 million on 17 July 2007 with bids received from 18 different market participants, both from Namibia and South Africa," he said.

These funds are primarily earmarked for the construction of the Caprivi Link Interconnector Project.

NamPower aims to have the power link up and running by 2009.

The project will benefit South Africa too by providing an alternative route to wheel power directly to the Western Cape, which has suffered extensive power outages lately.

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