Namibia's Nampower interested in solar power

May 28, 2013 at 12:30 AM
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WINDHOEK, Namibia, May 28 (UPI) -- Namibia national power utility Nampower is in discussions with private company InnoSun to build a solar power plant.

InnoSun, which is also bidding to construct Namibia's second desalination plant, wants to build the solar energy plant to power the facility, with surplus electricity to be fed into the national grid, The Namibian reported Monday.

Nampower's efforts to expand rapidly the country's available electricity by importing from neighboring Zimbabwe are however proving problematical.

Namibia's Nampower and Zimbabwean power utility ZESA recently signed a power purchase agreement. The arrangement has become a subject of controversy due to its conflicting interpretations of its terms, with both Namibia and Zimbabwe offering differing versions of the contract.

Nampower Managing Director Paulinus Shilamba said a power purchase agreement signed six years ago between the two power utilities, scheduled to end in October, had been extended to the end of 2014.

Zimbabwean Energy Minister Elton Mangoma offered a different view, saying: "What they (Nampower) have done is to ask us to sign a power purchase agreement for a lot more money than they have provided to us. For instance, we have got a contract that says we should be able to export power which can cost them $4 million-$5 million a month."

Under the terms of the 2007 contract, beyond annual electricity purchases Nampower was to provide ZESA with $40 million to rehabilitate ZESA's Hwange thermal power station in return for 150 megawatts of power annually for five years.

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