By Risco Lumamezi
The Namibian President, Hifikepunye Pohamba at Katima Mulilo on Friday, inaugurated a N$3, 2 billion-capital project of power that links Caprivi region with the rest of the country and the SADC region.
At the occasion was the invited heads of states, President of Botswana Lieutenant –General Ian Khama Seretse Khama, President Rupiah Banda of Zambia and Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe who witnessed the commissioning of Caprivi Link Interconnector Transmission Line.
Speaking at the ceremony , President Pohamba noted that the project involved the construction of two convertor stations which are the Zambezi Sub-station in Katima Mulilo and Gerus Sub- station near Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa region, which is about 950 km away Katima Mulilo.
The construction of the two sub–stations also involved the construction of the 350 kV High Voltage Direct Current transmission line connecting the two sub-stations, which is designed to transmit power to the maximum capacity of 600 MW (megawatts).
The Zambezi sub-station is the point where current is transmitted in a form of a Direct Current (DC) into an Alternative Current (AC) to connected regions of Kavango and Otjozondjupa Regions of Northern Namibia.
“In 2008, we met at this same venue with the late President Levi Mwanawasa and jointly commissioned the 220kV Victoria Falls – Zambezi transmission line which is an extension of the Caprivi Link. At that time, the Caprivi Link Interconnector was still in its embryonic stage of development, but we were very clear about the long –term strategy,” said President Pohamba.
The first ever meeting of SADC heads of states at the occasion bears a clear testimony to those SADC governments who adheres to sustainable power generation as a catalyst for economic development, regional integration and cooperation.
“The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) has elevated the Caprivi Link Interconnector to be one of its priority projects by virtue of its regional strategic importance,” Pohamba said
Still on the front line, Zambian and Namibia electricity networks will be further enhanced by the completion of the envisaged ZIZABONA Interconnection, which means to link Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
In Namibia, the government through the Ministry of Mines and Energy and Nampower has been embarking on several power generation and transmission projects to increase the capacity of power.
Other successful projects in Namibia that are currently under way are The Hwange Power Station Rehabilitation Project that commenced in 2007, The construction of the N$ 375 million 22 MW Anixas heavy – fuel diesel power plant at Walvis Bay which is due for completion by March 2011, The Ruacana Fourth Unit Project , Involving the installation of the fourth 92 MW generation unit which will increase the capacity of the power station from the current 240 MW to 320 MW, expected to be completed in March 2012 at a cost of N$ 750 million, The 200 to 400 MW Walvis Bay Coal-Fired Power Station is one of the projects where Independent Power Producers ( IPP) can come on board once an environmental clearance has been obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism , the site of which is located in the Erongo Region.
The Orange River Hydro Power Plants Project is on-going and the feasibility studies expected to complete by end of 2013, research has shown that the lower Orange River holds potential for an additional generation potential of between 80 MW to 120 MW , The Kudu Gas-to Power Project remains a crucial project where investors are urgently needed to team up with NamPower on the downstream development of the envisaged 800 MW station at Orangemund and Baynes Hydro Power Plant : this Hydro Project on the Cunene River Basin is spearheaded by the Namibia –Angola Permanent Joint Technical Commission (PJTC) on behalf of two governments. The final stage of the techno-economic study is expected to be completed early next year.
The funding of the Caprivi Link Interconnector was made possible with other financial sources from the European Union with grants of about 35 million Euros came from French Development Bank in France, German Development Bank (KfW) in German and European Investment Bank (EIB) respectively with the total amount of N$1.3 billion to the project.