Namibia Kudu Power Plant `Not Feasible' for Now, Minister Says

  • 1,050-megawatt plant at stake due to `economic climate'
  • Cabinet to make final decision on whether to go ahead

Namibia’s finance minister said a 1,050-megawatt gas-fired power plant is no longer feasible for now, hurting prospects for stemming electricity shortages.

“From a fiscal point of view, looking at the current economic climate, we have submitted to cabinet that Kudu is not feasible,” Calle Schlettwein said by phone. The cabinet will make a final decision, he said.

Namibia Power Corp., the state-owned utility known as Nampower, was due to build a 1,050 megawatt gas-fired plant that was scheduled to begin producing electricity in as soon as four years. It would be located near the Kudu fields, which hold an estimated 1.3 trillion cubic feet of gas and are 200 kilometers (124 miles) offshore of the southern town of Oranjemund.

Namibia imports about half of its power from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia, according to Schlettwein. Electricity capacity in the region is under severe strain as Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., South Africa’s state-owned utility, struggles to meet demand and breakdowns at plants in Zambia and Zimbabwe disrupt output. The Namibia dollar is linked to the rand, which has lost 17 percent against the dollar this year.

Peak power demand in the country is 524 megawatts and supply from local sources is 300 megawatts, Nampower said in April.

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