Nampower welcomes Omburu to its power stable

Augetto Graig
NamPower on Friday celebrated the inauguration of the 20 megawatts(MW) Omburu solar power plant just outside Omaruru that was built at a cost of over N$300 million.At the event, NamPower’s managing director Kahenge Haulofu also announced that a 58 MW battery storage system (BESS) will be built at the adjacent Omburu substation.

The power storage system will be the first of its kind in Namibia and the subcontinent, he said.

“To offer innovative power solutions, in a market that is constantly evolving, the Omburu power station was built to accommodate power storage in a battery system. Last year, Namibia and Germany, through the KfW Development Bank, made a donation of €20 million (about N$334 million) available for the implementation of the first large-scale BESS in Namibia and Southern Africa,” he said.

Omburu’s inauguration, as the first renewable power plant that NamPower fully owns and operates, is proof of the state-owned enterprise’s commitment to become the leading power supplier in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Haulofu said.

All Namibian

The Omburu plant covers 42 hectares within 300 hectares donated by the Omaruru town council, with 58 104 solar panels and 5 5MW converter stations.

The panels are mounted on 183 single-axis railways, following the movement of the sun from east to west.

“I am proud to say that the workforce involved in the project were all Namibians, including the design consultants, subcontractors and the workers,” he said.

Haulofu said the contractor, a joint venture between HopSol Africa and Tulive Private Equity, delivered the project within budget.

The joint venture agreed on 17 December 2020 to complete the plant’s engineering, procurement and construction work at a cost of N$317 million.

With the approval of the Electricity Control Board (ECB) on 19 February 2021, NamPower was able to use money from the fund for over-recovery of expenses to finance its expected budget of N$420 million.

Deputy mines and energy minister, Kornelia Shilunga, said government is committed to expanding local power generation capacity from 624MW to 879MW by 2025, using 50MW of independent power projects and the additional 220MW that NamPower will generate by 2025.

“This includes providing power to 213 new schools and health facilities, while 600 rural and 13 000 urban homes will receive power,” she said.

Power hungry

NamPower is also building a 40MW wind turbine and is currently evaluating bidders, hoping to award a contract in early 2023, Haulofu said.

The project to generate 40MW through the use of biomass is also in a bidding stage, which is expected to be completed in August. “We hope to award the contract in the first quarter of 2023,” Haulofu underlined.

“The 50MW power station, known as Anixas II Power Station, is now in the construction phase and construction is expected to be completed by December 2023,” he added.

The executive director of Alpha Namibia Industries Renewable Power Limited (ANIREP), owners of Hopsol and partners of Tulive, Iyaloo Nangolo, said playing a role to electrify the nation has always been his dream, especially during his days as a learner doing his homework under a paraffin lamp.

“It has always been my dream to bring access to electricity to every African child; to ensure they do not grow up without electricity,” he said.

Nangolo said if Namibia could build 1 080MW of solar power, 650MW of wind power and 600MW of energy storage systems for about N$30 billion, “we would have achieved a surplus, affordable and clean energy.”