Green Tower project could solve power shortage
23 February 2007, New Era/allAfrica
Windhoek: A one-day meeting that could see Nampower committing itself to the implementation of the Green Tower project regarded as the best solution to the anticipated severe power shortage in the country, took place in the capital last Friday.
Attended by about 50 experts in the local energy sector - Germany and South Africa - this meeting served as a platform to discuss issues that would clearly indicate the viability of this project in Namibia.
Chief Executive Officer of Nampower, Paulinus Shilamba, revealed that the Green Tower project has generated great interest within Nampower after the tender for expression of interest for the feasibility study for the construction of a 400 Megawatts base-load power plant at Walvis Bay.
"With due consideration of the special nature of this project, it was decided by Nampower Management to treat the Green Tower tender submission differently, starting off with a workshop today to obtain a better understanding of the Green Tower concept and technology before a final decision on the future of this project can be made", stated Shilamba in his welcoming remarks.
The Green Tower project may be a promising prospect for future power generation in the country.
Based on that, Shilamba reiterated Nampower's support for this development, adding that the local power supplier will support any initiative from anybody, including the private sector, to address the power supply shortage in Namibia provided it is technically and financially feasible and environmentally sustainable.
This project, Shilamba added, has additional advantages such as potential desalination of seawater in large quantities, large-scale agriculture potential, job-creation opportunities and huge environmental benefits.
"It (the project) could trigger accelerated economic development and quicker realization of Vision 2030, hence our support", he said.
Director of Bicon Namibia, Fritz Jeske, explained that Green Solar plants are highly suited to be positioned in the Namib Desert, and Namibia has these in abundance.
Should this venture materialize at the eyed site of Arandis, Namibia is likely to become the leading power exporter of clean and low-cost energy to other African countries. The expert says 50 percent of Namibia's land can generate at least 4.8 million megawatts which can feed about 40 billion people at present standard.
"Namibia has the potential to become an electrical superpower leading Africa", he said.
The SADC region faces a steady decline in power surplus as demand fast exceeds the available generation capacity. This situation is expected to reach a critical phase this year. Demand is currently growing at an average of 3% per year.
Of late, solar energy has received undivided attention in the power industry following power shortage problems faced by most southern African countries.
Because of that, consumers are turning to solar technologies and other energy-saving technologies in their numbers in a bid to save costs with ever-rising electricity bills.
While private households are converting their conventional electric geysers to solar water heating, public institutions in education and health have also turned to this exercise.
The Director of Namibia Engineering Corporation, Niko Brueckner, told New Era recently that solar water heaters' sales received a boost with the energy crisis, as well as financial assistance that is being given to finance the technologies.
Companies dealing in these technologies have seen a tremendous increase in their sales since early 2006 when power shortages, especially in South Africa, which supplies Namibia with most of its electricity, became prominent.
Eskom announced last year that its surplus electricity supply capacity would run out by this year as power demands in South Africa were expected to increase by 1200 MW per annum. The power utility has a capacity of about 40000 MW, with exports mainly to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.
Recently, a leaked confidential report from the Department of Public Enterprises under the title 'Review of Security of Supply in South Africa' indicates that the situation of supply of power by Eskom should be regarded as a grave worry with possibilities that Eskom could terminate its export contracts any time.