No Power Crisis for Walvis Bay

A POWER outage last week in Walvis Bay and Eskom’s announcement of load-shedding because of the “unavailability of some generators” do not mean that the harbour town is on the brink of a power crisis.

Erongo RED’s chief executive officer Robert Kahimise told a press meeting on Monday that the power supply was interrupted due to a broken conductor on Nampower’s 66kV (30MW) overhead line from the Kuiseb substation.

He said there are two lines running from the substation responsible for most of the town’s supply – which in this case are peaking at 42 MW.

According to Kahimise, one line cannot carry the entire load and to ensure the entire network does not collapse, emergency load-shedding had to be done.

“Load-shedding is a measure of last resort to prevent the collapse of the power system,” said Kahimise. “All customers in Walvis Bay were affected by this outage. The situation was beyond our control.”

The primary reason for load-shedding was to ensure that the capacity of the 66kV line from the Paratus power station could be restored to the larger area of the town,” he explained.

The 25MW Anixas power plant is currently not in use because of maintenance, and so the older Paratus power station had to be ‘kickstarted’ to ensure that at most 10 MW of electricity is contributed, which was still not enough to feed the entire Walvis Bay at the time.

The load-shedding was effected when Erongo Red switched off geysers, streetlights, residential areas and some parts of the light industrial area.

Business and large power users are usually last on the load-shedding programme, or in case of emergencies such as last week.

“Please note these are unplanned power outages and often these are caused by factors beyond our control such as weather, sabotage or unforeseen breakdown of electrical apparatuses,” he said.

Under normal circumstances (planned outage) NamPower will send a request to Erongo RED to reduce the load to keep the system stable.

However, last week’s incident was an emergency and “there was no time to notify the public about the outage”.

As for the effect of Eskom’s load-shedding plans, Kahimise said that to date Namibia has not been “hit yet” seeing that the country’s power portion of about 600 MW from South Africa’s demand of 40 000MW is a drop in the bucket.

Kahimise said Walvis Bay’s supply infrastructure has the capacity to accommodate peak demand, and that from next year, the infrastructure capacity will be upgraded to accommodate more than double the current peak demand for, at least, the next seven years.

Source : The Namibian