Environmental critics of the Epupa hydro power project in Namibia were accused of presenting poor data and deliberately misinterpreting con- sultants’ studies during a sometimes heated ten-hour public hearing in February.
The meeting discussed the latest feasibility report on two possible dam sites, one 4km downstream of the Epupa Falls on the Kuene river, and one 40km downstream in the Baynes mountains.
The Namang consortium of Norconsult (Norway), Swedpower (Sweden), Soapro (Angola) and Burmeister Partners (Namibia) accused critics of being emotive and condescending, according to press reports from the Namibian capital. The consultants also challenged the US-based International Rivers Network to prove their assertion that energy from a combined cycle gas power plant would be 40% cheaper than hydro at Epupa. (Shell and Eskom have already shown interest in the gas plant.) Opposition to the Epupa project exists due to a reported majority resistance from tribal leaders in the area — the full social effect survey of the feasibility study has yet to be finished.