SADC investors’ conference to tackle looming power crisis

SADC investors’ conference to tackle looming power crisis

THE imminent power shortages faced by SADC countries if they do not soon expand their power generation capacity have prompted a regional conference to attract investment for electricity projects.

The conference, starting in Windhoek today, follows last year’s SADC Energy Ministers meeting where the region’s diminishing capacity to generate surplus power was discussed. Another concern is congestions points within the Southern African Power Pool as transmission limits are being reached.The aim of the conference is to facilitate financing and investment in SADC for both short- and long-term energy-generation and transmission projects.Delegates will identify the financial needs of each member state in upgrading power infrastructure, identify potential investors and formulate a regional approach to investment in the electricity sector.Last week, Permanent Secretary of Mines and Energy Joseph Iita said it was important to emphasise both private and public sector participation at the conference and to highlight the electricity challenges of the region.Namibia is set to tout its main project aimed at addressing the domestic and regional demand for energy – the Kudu Gas project – at the occasion.It is well known that electricity is a major catalyst for economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, where an estimated half-a-billion people live without electricity.South African Minister of Minerals and Energy Lindiwe Hendricks, addressing a meeting of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) a week ago, said that a “lack of access to electricity frustrates economic development, impacts negatively on quality of life and environmental improvements, and it condemns millions of people to continued poverty”.During a recent interview with The Namibian, NamPower Managing Director Leake Hangala said the intention was to take investment decisions on the Kudu project by June 2006.At present Irish energy company Tullow Oil Plc has the majority stake in the US$1 billion Kudu Gas project, but has said it is keen for investment partners to minimise the risk.”Kudu is moving.It is a big project; the biggest in the country with the newest technology.We are not talking small money and we must be careful not to rush it.We’d rather be late, but correct,” Hangala told The Namibian.Hangala said the project had already reached a very advanced stage, and a financial advisor would soon be appointed to guide this aspect of the project.He said NamPower had already been approached by several interested investors, mostly about the supply of equipment or for contract hire, but that it wanted to finalise the design of the infrastructure and the terms of the power purchasing and gas supply agreements before looking at the financial phase of the project.NamPower is also negotiating with South African power giant Eskom on possibly buying the surplus the 800-megawatt Kudu power plant is expected to generate.Namibia’s domestic demand is in the region of 500 megawatts.Prime Minister Nahas Angula is expected to officially open the conference today.An exhibition will be run parallel to the conference, with displays of regional power projects aimed at addressing the critical power shortage the region is expected to face soon.Namibia will exhibit the Kudu Gas and the Caprivi Link as its main projects.Another concern is congestions points within the Southern African Power Pool as transmission limits are being reached.The aim of the conference is to facilitate financing and investment in SADC for both short- and long-term energy-generation and transmission projects.Delegates will identify the financial needs of each member state in upgrading power infrastructure, identify potential investors and formulate a regional approach to investment in the electricity sector.Last week, Permanent Secretary of Mines and Energy Joseph Iita said it was important to emphasise both private and public sector participation at the conference and to highlight the electricity challenges of the region.Namibia is set to tout its main project aimed at addressing the domestic and regional demand for energy – the Kudu Gas project – at the occasion.It is well known that electricity is a major catalyst for economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, where an estimated half-a-billion people live without electricity.South African Minister of Minerals and Energy Lindiwe Hendricks, addressing a meeting of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) a week ago, said that a “lack of access to electricity frustrates economic development, impacts negatively on quality of life and environmental improvements, and it condemns millions of people to continued poverty”.During a recent interview with The Namibian, NamPower Managing Director Leake Hangala said the intention was to take investment decisions on the Kudu project by June 2006.At present Irish energy company Tullow Oil Plc has the majority stake in the US$1 billion Kudu Gas project, but has said it is keen for investment partners to minimise the risk.”Kudu is moving.It is a big project; the biggest in the country with the newest technology.We are not talking small money and we must be careful not to rush it.We’d rather be late, but correct,” Hangala told The Namibian.Hangala said the project had already reached a very advanced stage, and a financial advisor would soon be appointed to guide this aspect of the project.He said NamPower had already been approached by several interested investors, mostly about the supply of equipment or for contract hire, but that it wanted to finalise the design of the infrastructure and the terms of the power purchasing and gas supply agreements before looking at the financial phase of the project.NamPower is also negotiating with South African power giant Eskom on possibly buying the surplus the 800-megawatt Kudu power plant is expected to generate.Namibia’s domestic demand is in the region of 500 megawatts.Prime Minister Nahas Angula is expected to officially open the conference today.An exhibition will be run parallel to the conference, with displays of regional power projects aimed at addressing the critical power shortage the region is expected to face soon.Namibia will exhibit the Kudu Gas and the Caprivi Link as its main projects.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News