Namibia weathers SA power crisis

Namibia weathers SA power crisis

NAMPOWER has brought on stream its two emergency power stations in anticipation of a power supply dip from its main electricity supplier Eskom in South Africa.

The Van Eck coal-fired power station in Windhoek’s northern industrial area was already up and running yesterday, with the Paratus diesel plant joining in to ensure reliable electricity supply. Some South African towns and cities, particularly in the Cape, were thrown into darkness early yesterday morning as a result of a trip at the Koeberg nuclear power reactor in South Africa.Despite its undertaking that the situation in South Africa will not affect the power supply in Namibia, NamPower has activated its emergency facilities to prepare for any eventuality.One of the two 900 megawatt (MW) turbines at Koeberg in the Cape tripped at around 02h00 yesterday, resulting in an automatic shutdown.Repairs might take a week, power utility Eskom said.The cause of the tripping is not yet known.The incident forced Eskom to announce emergency measures, which includes cutting electricity supply to major cities in South Africa for short periods at different intervals.The measure is known as load-shedding.”The situation is critical and there will be power shortages for two hours per day,” Eskom spokesman Fani Zulu said.Eskom now suddenly faces a 4 600 MW shortage due to the mishap.Namibia’s electricity supply will not be affected, according to NamPower.”We have the coal-fired Van Eck station up and running and the Paratus diesel plant at Walvis Bay will provide electricity from tonight (Thursday) onwards,” Werner Graupe, manager for energy trading at NamPower, told The Namibian yesterday.”The Ruacana power station on the Kunene River is also running at full capacity because the river has a high water level.We have the situation under control,” Graupe assured this newspaper.Namibia has about 400 MW of installed capacity and Eskom 42 000 MW, but it exports about one quarter to neighbouring countries, including Namibia.Some South African towns and cities, particularly in the Cape, were thrown into darkness early yesterday morning as a result of a trip at the Koeberg nuclear power reactor in South Africa.Despite its undertaking that the situation in South Africa will not affect the power supply in Namibia, NamPower has activated its emergency facilities to prepare for any eventuality. One of the two 900 megawatt (MW) turbines at Koeberg in the Cape tripped at around 02h00 yesterday, resulting in an automatic shutdown.Repairs might take a week, power utility Eskom said.The cause of the tripping is not yet known.The incident forced Eskom to announce emergency measures, which includes cutting electricity supply to major cities in South Africa for short periods at different intervals.The measure is known as load-shedding.”The situation is critical and there will be power shortages for two hours per day,” Eskom spokesman Fani Zulu said.Eskom now suddenly faces a 4 600 MW shortage due to the mishap.Namibia’s electricity supply will not be affected, according to NamPower.”We have the coal-fired Van Eck station up and running and the Paratus diesel plant at Walvis Bay will provide electricity from tonight (Thursday) onwards,” Werner Graupe, manager for energy trading at NamPower, told The Namibian yesterday.”The Ruacana power station on the Kunene River is also running at full capacity because the river has a high water level.We have the situation under control,” Graupe assured this newspaper.Namibia has about 400 MW of installed capacity and Eskom 42 000 MW, but it exports about one quarter to neighbouring countries, including Namibia.

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