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Ruacana Hydro Slumped To Lowest Energy Generation In Ten Years…as the call to de-risk the country from its Ruacana over-reliance grows louder

By:Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus
Ruacana Power Station energy generation 780.15 GWhduring 2022 was the lowest recorded for the past 10 years, Nampower said in its report covering the financial year ended 30 June 2022.
This is as opposed to 1,505 GWh generated in the 2019/20 financial year. The decline led to local generation contribute just 29% of the electricity needed.
The huge slump in electricity generation was due to the significantly lower-than-normal Kunene river flow, the power utility explained.
It is also worth noting that the utility managed to ensure systems availability of 99.82% during the year, with no load shedding or system blackouts experienced.
The country’s energy consumptionstood at 3,983 GWh by the end of June 2022 exposing the country to Eskom risk and more expensive electricity from platforms such as the Southern African Power Pool.
Nampower Board Chairperson Daniel Motinga said the utility’s capacity to augment foreign currency-denominated imports with local production was severely curtailed by limited generation by the Ruacana plant.
Motinga said the combined impact of Angola’s large water infrastructure developments in the catchment area along with relatively low rainfall in southern Angola contributed greatly to reducing Ruacana’s already limited capacity to a mere 781 GWh of energy generated during the reporting cycle as opposed to 2019/20 financial year.
Ruacana is normally a significant contributor to NamPower’s in-country generation capabilities.
“Consequently, there is a strong negative correlation between our cost of sales and local generation,” he explained.
By the end of June 2022, the cost of electricity supply increased by nearly 14% from N$4,5 billion to N$5,1 billion.
Motinga added that the Ruacana station also produces electricity at comparatively low cents per kilowatt hour and thus impacts profitability positively when all turbines are operating optimally.
This has increased the need for the power utility to de-risk the country from over-reliance on the hydropower station.
“I have pointed out last year that a significant part of the current power generation and distribution investment plan is to de-risk the excessive reliance on imports while simultaneously augmenting the importance of Ruacana,”he said.
NamPower presently imports between 60% and 70% of its energy requirement.
For the year ended 30 June 2022, the utility has reported that it has increased the country’s installed generation capacity from 489.5 MW to 509.5 MW with the inauguration of the Omburu 20 MW PV Power Station.
The total installed capacity is, however, still dominated by variable generation (Ruacana and Omburu) and then the two emergency standby stations using carbon-emitting resources.
Furthermore, the utility has also increased its distribution lines by constructing an additional 93 km of distribution lines.
Namibia imported 71% of its electricity compared to 68% imported in 2021.
The country’s electricity in 2022 was mostly sourced from Eskom 1,253GWh, a reduction from last year’s import of 1,473GWh given SA’s utility weakening generation ability and reliability risk.
Zambia has, however, stood up and filled up Eskom shoes through ZESCO which supplied Namibia with 1,018GWh by the end of June 2022, a big jump from the 816GWh they supplied Namibia in 2021.
Nampower has also reported an additional renewable energy capacity of 20MW by the end of June 2022.
The annual report shows that 13 REFIT and other IPPs were operational and generated 364GWh, a slight improvement from the 360GWh they added in 2021.
The remaining (256GWh) was sourced from the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP).
The local provision of electricity is funded primarily by electricity sales.
By the end of June 2022, electricity units sold by Nampower stood at 3,701GWh, generating N$6,5 billion- this is equivalent to what the utility generated in 2021 when it sold even more power (3,903GWh).
The power utility GridOnline and fibre optics rentals have also generated N$15,3 million for the company.
The annual report also shows that the cost of electricity took up 78% of revenue through direct costs of generation, cost of electricity purchases from IPPs and imports.
NamPower used various natural capital, and renewable and non-renewable natural resources to deliver the 4,097GWh electricity into the system.
Domestically, the utility used 20,223 cubic metres of water, and consumed 31,722 tonnes of coal.
The country’s Renewable Energy Policy targets the sourcing of 70% of Namibia’s energy from renewable energy sources by 2030, thereby making a significant contribution towards achieving a self-sufficiency target of 80% in the near future.
Meanwhile, the company has also committed N$2,4 billion committed to the generation and transmission projects in the 2022/2023 financial year.

Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus

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