Construction has commenced on the 287 kilometre-long 400 kV Auas to Gerus electricity transmission line. Once completed, it will run from the Auas substation near Dordabis to the Gerus substation near Otjiwarongo. The new transmission line is part of NamPower’s investment in expanding its 400 kV transmission infrastructure backbone by more than 830km at a total cost of N$3.5 billion.
This amount includes the Auas to Gerus line at a cost of N$870 million, comprising the line cost of N$629 million and the substation upgrade costs of N$241 million; the 450km Auas to Kokerboom line at a total cost of N$ 1,660 million; and the 96 km Obib to Oranjemund line at a total cost of N$1,035 million.
The construction of the Auas to Gerus transmission line forms part of NamPower’s ambition to deliver sustainable security of supply and a least-cost tariff path to support economic growth and maintain the company’s financial sustainability.
“To ensure that NamPower maintains 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. Further to that, the line will also allow for an increased transfer capacity to NamPower’s transmission customers to alleviate challenges currently experienced in ensuring continued electricity supply. The new transmission line will enhance NamPower’s ability to trade electricity between other countries within the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP),” read a statement from NamPower’s managing director, Kahenge Haulofu.
He noted that the new transmission line is also expected to benefit all Namibians through an increased access to data services as NamPower currently avails its fibre optic network through its subsidiary, the GridOnline, to licensed telecommunications service providers.
“Line construction is expected to be conducted using primarily the lightweight Cross-Rope Suspension Towers with the conductors in a compact delta configuration. This type of tower uses a reduced amount of steel and blends into the surroundings with the aim to minimise the environmental impact, as well as to reduce 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,” Haulofu continued.
The line route will traverse the Khomas and Otjozondjupa regions, while the alignment will cross the B6 road to the west of the Hosea Kutako International Airport, the B1 south of Otjiwarongo and the C38 between Otjiwarongo and Outjo.
The main contractor, Power Line Africa, was appointed through a process of open international bidding, conducted by the Central Procurement Board of Namibia. The accepted contract amount for the construction of the transmission line is approximately N$629 million, with the construction expected to be completed by the second half of 2022.
“Over and above its continued investment in new generation capacity, NamPower will 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,” Haulofu stated.
He added that continuous investments are made “to keep the national grid in a superior condition to ensure an efficient, reliable and effective network with minimal disruptions”.