A local newspaper in Namibia reprots that Namibia has secured a “firm” contract with Zambia for uninterrupted power supplies, according to Kandali Iyambo, the acting managing director of NamPower. In an interview with The Brief, Iyambo explained that “What we have with Zambia is firm. Firm means that it’s uninterrupted. It’s not source based. We are not sourcing our power from a specific plant, but from the total portfolio. If you enter into a contract and say its uninterruptable, except for force majeure, which is also specified, then they ought to supply and honour their contract with us because its firm.”
Namibia imports 180 megawatts (MW) from Zambia after NamPower secured an additional 80MW from the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) last April, under a 10-year power supply agreement reported to be worth N$8.5 billion (US$500 million). The reported N$850 million-a-year deal, aims to reduce the country’s dependency on South Africa’s Eskom, which is experiencing acute challenges resulting in Africa’s most developed economy enduring rolling power cuts.
However, Zambia is currently battling a power deficit due a drastic reduction in available water in the Kariba reservoir for electricity generation at Kariba North Bank Power Station, resulting in the introduction of a 12-hour load-shedding. Despite this, Iyambo has ruled out the possibility of Namibia facing load-shedding due to supply constraints in South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, which all export power to the country.
“The issue of load-shedding is not foreseeable in the near future at all. It may just mean that NamPower might have to source power from the SAPP to meet the country’s energy demand,” Iyambo said.
As a member of the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP), Namibia, Zambia and other regional utilities assist one another during power supply emergencies. Iyambo stated that in SAPP) members actually assist each other as power utilities. “It’s on the premise that we assist each other as countries or as utilities when the other utility is facing problems,” she said.
Namibia imports a total of 460MW from regional power utilities to meet its daily energy demands of 500MW, and NamPower recently reduced its firm offtake from Eskom by half to only 100MW, with a further non-firm arrangement for 300MW. In addition, the company is also undertaking five power-generation projects and 11 transmission projects aimed at reducing its reliance on imported electricity, the majority of which will be funded through the power utility’s substantial cash and liquid assets.
Although Iyambo was tight-lipped on the exact value of the additional 80MW Namibia is getting from Zambia, she noted that “the value of the agreement depends on which side you are looking at it, because there are other factors that need to be considered on our side, including exchange rate, as we use the Namibia dollar”.
In conclusion, Namibia has secured a “firm” contract with Zambia for uninterrupted power supplies, despite the current power deficit in Zambia and the ongoing power supply challenges in South Africa. NamPower and the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) will work together to ensure that Namibia will not face load-shedding in the near future, while also working on power-generation projects to reduce the country’s reliance on imported electricity.