Staff Writer

THE country’s power utility, NamPower, has started constructing a 287km long 400 kV Auas-Gerus transmission line.

This is part of the N$3,5 billion 833 kilometre expansion programme involving three projects. The line to run from Auas substation near Dordabis to Gerus substation near Otjiwarongo, is part of the company’s investment in expanding its 400kV transmission infrastructure backbone, by more than 800 kilometres. “The construction of the transmission line is a testament of NamPower’s ambition to deliver sustainable security of supply and a least-cost tariff path that will support economic growth and maintain the company’s financial sustainability,” reads a statement issued by the company on Monday.

To ensure that NamPower keeps pace with the evolving electricity needs of the country, the line will allow the utility to serve an increased number of customers through access to its existing Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and prospective solar, hydro, biomass, wind and other generation plants, thereby enhancing accessibility to clean energy in the country, the statement says. Further to that, the line will also allow for greater transfer capacity to NamPower’s transmission customers to alleviate challenges being experienced in ensuring continued electricity supply.

The new transmission line will also enhance NamPower’s ability to trade electricity between other countries within the South African Power Pool (SAPP).

In addition, the line is also expected to benefit all Namibians through an increased access to data services, as NamPower currently makes available its fibre-optic network through its subsidiary, the GridOnline, to licensed telecommunication service providers. According to the company, line construction is expected to be done using primarily the lightweight Cross-Rope Suspension Tower with the conductors in a compact delta configuration.

This tower uses a reduced amount of steel and blends into the surroundings to minimise the environmental impact, as well as reducing pollution. In addition, it aims to minimise the impact on bird life, as certain identified sections on the structure will be marked with bird flight diverters. The line route will traverse the Khomas and Otjozondjupa regions.

The alignment of the line is expected to cross the B6 road to the west of the Hosea Kutako International airport, as well as the B1 south of Otjiwarongo and the C38 between Otjiwarongo and Outjo. The contractor, Power Line Africa, was appointed through a process of Open International Bidding, conducted by the Central Procurement Board of Namibia. The construction of the transmission line scheduled for completion by the second half of 2022 is N$629 801 144.44.

NamPower will also implement further projects to expand its 400kV transmission capacity to ensure that it can continue to deliver on its mandate of providing reliable electricity for the future needs of Namibia. Besides the Auas-Gerus N$629 million line and N$241 million substation upgrade, other projects under the NamPower 400 kV Expansion Programme are the Auas-Kokerboom 450km project costing N$1,660 billion and the 96-kilometre Obib-Oranjemond line expected to cost N$1,035 billion.