Tsumeb to get biomass power station

BIODIVERSITY . . . The encroacher bush that NamPower will use to generate electricity. Photo contributed.

Namibia’s power utility, NamPower, will soon construct a biomass power station near Tsumeb in the Oshikoto region.

According to the project fact sheet released by NamPower on Tuesday, the Otjikoto biomass power station will generate electricity from wood chips from encroacher bush harvested from the surrounding areas of the proposed project site.

The primary objective of the first 40MW biomass power station is to address energy security and affordability in the country.

The project is one of several power generation plants of which the implementation was ratified by the NamPower board on 8 November 2018 as part of the utility’s 150MW allocation from the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

The proposed power station will be developed as an engineering procurement and construction (EPC) project and will be owned and
operated by NamPower.

The project has secured a loan of up to 100 million euros through the Agence Française de Développement for the construction of the power station.

The project also secured a grant for 25 million euros with the Mitigation
Action Facility (MAF) as a contribution to the capital cost of the project and for capacity building of the biomass fuel supply chain.

In addition to this, the government has made a capital contribution of N$400 million based on the significant social, environmental, and
economic benefits that will accrue from the project and to lower the electricity tariff to the end consumer.

The projects also received a grant of 3 million euros from the Le
Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial for maximising the social benefits of the project and for environmental research.

Namibia faces the challenge of bush encroachment on its savannah grasslands, which has affected more than 26 million hectares of land.

This imbalance has led to deteriorating biodiversity, a low carrying capacity of farmland, and a decrease in the underground
water recharge of Namibia’s aquifers.

According to NamPower, the abundance of encroacher bush and the
national shortfall of electricity creates an economic opportunity for bush-to-electricity generation.

“Electricity generation and the harvesting of encroacher bush are listed activities falling in line with national development goals, such as the
National Integrated Resource Plan, the fifth National Development Plan, and Namibia’s Nationally Determined Contributions,” NamPower says.

The project will promote a sustainable harvesting industry that would not only generate the required harvesting volumes to run a biomass power station, but would also potentially stimulate other spin-off markets and act as a catalyst for other debushing applications.

The project site is situated 12km north of Tsumeb and the site selection was mainly driven by the larger socio-economic impacts, sufficiently available biomass fuel resources and proximity to existing transmission infrastructure requirements.

The fact sheet says the execution period of the project from commencement to the completion date is expected to be approximately 30 months, with completion scheduled for the first quarter of 2027.

“The EPC contractor will be responsible for constructing all related infrastructure and buildings, which include but is not limited to access roads, administration buildings, and fuel-handling facilities,” NamPower says.

– email: matthew@namibian.com.na

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