SA electricity minister promises uninterrupted power supply to Namibia

The South African minister of electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, has promised to continue providing Namibia with 100MW of power at any given time.

Ramokgopa made this announcement on Friday during his one-day visit to Namibia, where he met with his Namibian counterpart, Tom Alweendo.

“We will continue to do so. I don’t believe there’s any risk. You shouldn’t lose sleep over the 100MW we are supplying you with,” he said during a media briefing.

This commitment comes as South Africa grapples electricity shortages.

Ramokgopa said the intensity of load-shedding is decreasing as most power stations are now operating reliably.

“We have moved from a historic low of 48% [generation capacity], but as I speak to you now, we are at 60% and we continue to improve.
“The projects going into December . . . we are going to bring a significant number of generation units from two stations, including improvements we are making at other stations,” he said.

The units Ramokgopa referred to are from the Tutuka power station in SA’s Mpumalanga province, where performance has reached 15%.

He expressed optimism about improving the station’s performance to enable it to produce an additional 1 000MW or more.

He said four units from the Kusile power station are scheduled to come online in October.

Additionally, a unit which has been taken offline due to flue gas desulphurisation is expected to be operational by 24 December, contributing approximately 3 000MW.

Flue gas is sulphur dioxide mercury emissions which have caused the deaths of over 680 people, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

The deaths are attributed to an increased risk of stroke, ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lower respiratory tract disease.

“We are making progress,” Ramokgopa said.

During their meeting, the two ministers also discussed Kudu gas-to-power initiatives, green hydrogen, and other infrastructure plans.

Alweendo said the purpose of the visit was to initiate discussions on addressing power deficits experienced by most countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

In addition to purchasing power from South Africa, the two nations also share power transmission infrastructure.

“We held discussions on infrastructure, focusing on electricity transmission between our countries. We also talked about Kudu gas-to-power initiatives and South Africa’s potential involvement in that development for mutual benefit,” Alweendo said.

The ministers also reflected on the green hydrogen strategy, a shared pursuit by both countries.

South Africa is planning a green hydrogen station at Boegoe Bay in the Northern Cape, which borders Namibia in the south.

Alweendo emphasised the potential for collaboration between the two countries in this field to avoid competition.

“That collaboration could be in terms of common infrastructure that could be used. It could also be in terms of how to get investors to invest in the sector.

“We are developing this because we are in the same corridor, and therefore we need to identify areas of cooperation,” he said.

Alweendo said the two countries are set to sign an agreement on energy, outlining cooperative efforts on select energy projects.

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