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Solar project starts for Erongo Desalination Plant

2023-08-31  Staff Reporter

Solar project starts for Erongo Desalination Plant

The 5 MW solar plant developed for Orano Mining Namibia, envisaged to supply part of the power required for the Erongo Desalination Plant (EDP), reached an important milestone when groundworks at the Trekkopje site commenced recently. 

The plant is being constructed under a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with InnoSun Energy Holdings, known as Phase 1 of the Sorexa project. The agreement includes the establishment of a 5MW solar plant at the Trekkopje site just north-east of Arandis, from where power will be supplied to the EDP, situated some 35km north of Swakopmund. Under the agreement, InnoSun Energy Holdings will design, construct, own and operate the solar plant. 

Construction has now commenced, and the plant is expected to be operational towards the end of 2024. Currently, site fencing, earthworks, trenching and foundations for the switching and metering substation building is well- underway. 

This will enable Orano to make the provision of water to the Erongo Region from a green electricity source more affordable in the long-term, and contribute greatly to efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of the EDP. Once commissioned, it is expected to reduce energy costs of the desalination process, and lower annual greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, which is equivalent to 9 722 tonnes of CO2. 

This project is part of the Orano group policy aiming to lower its carbon footprint and increase the share of low-carbon electricity at its operating sites worldwide. 

The Erongo Desalination Plant was developed and is fully-owned by Orano Mining Namibia, and operated by Nafasi Water. Originally built by Orano to supply water to its Trekkopje Mine near Arandis, the EDP is now an important contributor to the overall supply of the potable water delivery system managed by NamWater, providing a substantial portion of the local drinking water supply of the town of Swakopmund as well as the nearby uranium mines and other industries. 

It is the largest reverse osmosis seawater desalination plant in Southern Africa. 

The current plant capacity is 20 million cubic meters per annum, and can be upgraded to achieve 25 million cubic meters per annum within the existing buildings. Should water demand require even more, the plant’s capacity can be increased up to 45 million cubic meters per year. 

The EDP has an impressive safety record, with 13 years (2023 status) of continuous operation without a single Loss Time Injury (LTI). Similarly, its environmental management system adheres to the highest standards, as confirmed by ongoing impact testing around the operating site by independent third parties. 

As a recognised international operator in the field of nuclear materials, Orano delivers solutions to address present and future global energy and health challenges. Its expertise and experience enables Orano to offer customers high value-added products and services throughout the entire fuel cycle. 

Orano is committed to the development of know-how in the transformation and control of nuclear materials for the climate and a healthy and resource-efficient world. 


Photo: Orano


2023-08-31  Staff Reporter

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