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Nampower to Tap Into Regional Grid

Nov 13, 2007 - All Africa Global Media

National power utility, NamPower, is optimistic Namibia will start receiving electricity through the Caprivi Link Interconnector Power Line by 2009.

The Caprivi Link Interconnector Power Line is one of the major projects the company has embarked on in an effort to counter serious power problems currently facing the country.

The power supply situation in the country remains unstable with the problem likely to be overcome in the next two years when projects such as the Kudu Power Project, Walvis Bay Power Station, Caprivi Link Interconnector, Hwange Power Station Rehabilitation, Baynes Hydro Power and Wind Power are in full operation. These have different timelines.

It is anticipated the Caprivi link project will create a connection between the Namibian, Zambian and South African electricity networks and will provide Namibia with an alternative source of foreign energy and lessen its current dependence on South Africa.

In June this year, NamPower launched a N$3-billion bond issue to fund the expansion of the electricity transmission network connecting Namibia to Zambia. In September last year, NamPower completed the first phase of the line, a 220kV line from Victoria Falls to Katima Mulilo. NamPower is positive that the construction of the line - from Katima Mulilo to Otjiwarongo - will be completed in mid-2009. "The project is progressing well. They are busy with bush clearing. This is where the line will pass," said NamPower spokesperson, John Kaimu.

Recently, NamPower appointed ABB, a leading power and automation technology group, to construct Converter Stations at Gerus and Zambezi substations respectively as part of the Caprivi Link Interconnector Project. The tender is worth US$180 million.

The construction of a 970km 350Kv high voltage direct current (HVDC) line from the Zambezi substation (near Katima Mulilo) to Gerus substation (situated between Otjiwarongo and Outjo) is anticipated to carry 300MW.

The design allows for a future upgrade of the Link to 600MW, Kaimu said. According to Kaimu, the line will interconnect electricity networks of Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, DRC, Mozambique and South Africa and will create an alternative route of power imports and exports to and from neighbouring countries. The Caprivi link will relieve congestion experienced during peak periods on the inter-connection between Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa by providing an alternative path to transmit power from the DRC and Zambia to South Africa.

He added that upon commissioning, power to customers in the Caprivi Region would also be supplied from both Zambia (ZESCO) and Namibia (NamPower). This means that the Caprivi Region will, for the first time, be connected to the Namibian grid. "The transmission will use ABB's innovative HVDC light system, a high-voltage direct current transmission technology that will stabilise the weak Namibian and Zambian networks, thus increasing grid reliability in the region," he said. ABB is responsible for system engineering including design, supply and installation of the two converter stations and earth electrodes. The system is scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2009.

The construction tender was awarded to ABB after a competitive and transparent process. ABB is a reputable leading power and automation technology group whose services NamPower has enlisted before, Kaimu said.

Technical Articles - index of technical articles related to GENI's vision. Includes: articles written by GENI and about GENI concerning the proof of concept and some industry reports relating to the GENI vision