Namibia advances Orange minis, 500-MW Baynes, new unit at 249-MW Ruacana

The board of Namibia Power Corp. (NamPower) has approved spending N$7.2 million (US$732,445) to help finance a feasibility study of the development of hydroelectric projects on the Orange River between Namibia and South Africa.

NamPower Managing Director Paulinus Shilamba said December 11 that the utility is completing a memorandum of understanding with Clarkson Power of South Africa for joint development of hydro plants on the Orange.

Clarkson has performed a number of studies of the project, which is described as a series of mini-hydropower plants. South Africa President Thako Mbeki and Namibia President Hifikepunye Pohamba approved a study of the joint hydro project in 2007. (HNN 12/18/07)

500-MW Baynes

As part of an update on NamPower electricity projects, Shilamba said environmental and technical studies have begun on the proposed 500-MW Baynes hydroelectric project on the Kunene River. The governments of Angola and Namibia signed an agreement in June to begin a feasibility study and the first phase of development on the Kunene (or Cunene), which forms Angola and Namibia's common border. (HNN 6/26/08)

Shilamba said the studies are expected to require 18 months for completion. They are expected to determine the final size and commissioning date of the Baynes project.

In 2006, Angola and Namibia, through the Permanent Joint Technical Commission, agreed on the appointment of the Kunene Consortium, a group of four Brazilian firms for a techno-economic study of Baynes at a cost of US$7 million funded by German development bank Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW).

249-MW Ruacana

Shilamba said construction is expected to begin in mid-2009 to add a fourth 80-MW unit to the 249-MW Ruacana hydroelectric project on the Kunene. NamPower is taking bids until February 20, 2009, for civil works needed to install the unit. (HNN 12/12/08)

A year ago, NamPower approved spending N$350 million (US$51.4 million) to add the unit to the three-unit Ruacana, whose original design allowed for installation of four units. NamPower seeks bids to supply additional civil works in the powerhouse and the penstock, plus a new warehouse, eight-unit employee housing, and services for the turbine-generator contractor during installation. Work is expected to require 30 months.

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