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South Africa & Namibia in talks to build hydropower station

South Africa and Namibia may build a 30-MW hydro-electrical power station on the Orange river, to supply electricity into the southern parts of the neighbouring country.
South Africa’s Department of Minerals and Energy chief director for electricity, Ompi Aphane, said on Friday that initial indications were that the plant would mainly supply electricity to Namibia.

But South Africa would consider buying power from its neighbour if it could arrange a favourable offtake agreement, he said.

“It is still a high-level concept,”Aphane said, adding that details, such as when the plant would be built, were still unclear.

The two governments received the go-ahead from President Thabo Mbeki and his Namibian counterpart Hifikepunye Pohamba to proceed with the studies into the proposed plant on Thursday, when they met in Pretoria.

South Africa is Nambia’s main supplier of electricity, but the unprecedented load growth in South Africa has sparked fears of more frequent power shortages in the two countries.

Eskom has reduced its electricity supplies to its neighbouring countries, including Nambia, this week, as it struggled to supply South Africa’s power demands.

Nambia’s Trade and Industry Minister, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, said in Pretoria, on Thursday, that a 30-MW power plant would make a “serious impact” on the country’s ability to provide energy to, especially, the southern parts of the country.

“I think that on the basis of today's discussion, the two governments have agreed that where potential has been identified the work should proceed for development purposes," South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa added.

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News date: 12/10/2007

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