Namibia will tender in January a $1 billion, 800 MW combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant project as part of a novel gas-to-power project which will be the southern African nation’s largest ever engineering project, according to head of state utility NamPower.
The integrated $2 billion gas-to-power Kudu project, equivalent to 15 per cent of national GDP, will be located in Oranjemund, south-western Namibia, on the South African border. Gas would be sourced from a $1 billion floating gas platform 170km offshore in the Atlantic Ocean, from where the fuel would be extracted at a depth of 4500 metres under the seabed.
Paulinus Shilamba, managing director of Nambia’s power generation and transmission monopoly, said the 800 MW Kudu CCGT, which would virtually double NamPower’s existing power plant portfolio, will serve as a regional power plant. “We expect 400 MW to be consumed in Namibia, 100 MW in Zambia with the remaining 300 MW in South Africa,” he told Millicent Media.
NamPower is close to finalizing the government strategic support paper for the project, with submission due by the end of November. The tenders for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), operations & maintenance (O&M) and strategic equity partners (SEP) contracts will then be put out in January. Shilamba said the project would be formalized in June 2012.
Reiner Jagau, chief officer of NamPower’s power system development, said: “800 MW would virtually double the current capacity of NamPower, which brings huge risks. It will be a challenging project and we need government support.”
Shilamba said the Kudu plant, which could be online by 2016, would be built on a public-private partnership basis, with NamPower taking a 51 per cent stake and the remaining 49 per cent farmed out to the private sector. The head of NamPower added that there is strong interest in the project from Eskom, South Africa’s power utility, and Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy Corporation.
Namibia is only 46 per cent self-sufficient in power generation, with imports accounting for the remaining 54 per cent, of which 22 per cent is supplied by South African state utility Eskom.
Namibia’s current grid-connected power capacity currently totals 415.5 MW, including the 249 MW Ruacana hydro plant, the 120 MW coal plant and two diesel-powered plants of a combined 66.5 MW. A 90 MW expansion of the Ruacana hydro plant is due to be commissioned in March 2012.
A government White Paper stipulates that Namibia must eventually become 100 per cent self-sufficient in power generation and 75 per cent for all energy needs.