The Governments of Angola and Namibia, through the Permanent Joint Technical Commission (PJTC), appointed Environmental Resources Management (ERM) to undertake an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the proposed Baynes Hydropower Project (Baynes HPP).

There are two phases to the ESIA, namely:

  • Phase 1 - Scoping; and
  • Phase 2 - Baseline, Impact Assessment and framework Social and Environmental Management Plan (SEMP).


The potential of the Kunene River as a location for a hydropower project was first considered by colonial powers at the turn of the 19th century. Since then dams and weirs have been constructed along the river including the Gove Dam and the Ruacana hydropower site. Political changes and instability hindered efforts to construct an additional hydropower project on the Kunene River until the early 1990s, when the Governments of Namibia and Angola ratified the previous Kunene River Agreements. This paved the way for the feasibility study of the Epupa/Baynes Hydropower Project in 1998.

The feasibility study concluded that the Epupa site would be technically preferable, while the Baynes alternative site would result in far less ecological and social impacts. The Epupa site however would be far more disruptive to the life of the local Himba since it would require the flooding of a broad valley extensively used by farmers and herders. Opposition to the plans of a dam at the Epupa site saw the Epupa/Baynes Hydropower Project being shelved and caused the two governments to consider alternative power supply arrangements. The Baynes alternative site, however, still remained an option for both countries.

More than a decade later, the power generation capacity in Southern Africa has changed, and together with increased power demand, serious power shortages have been experienced with an ever widening gap projected in the capacity to meet this demand. This has resulted in the Governments reconsidering the possibility of power generation from the lower Kunene River. The PJTC is therefore presently re-considering the option of a hydropower project at the Baynes site on the Kunene River, to supply both Namibia and Angola with a reliable source of power which will meet their future requirements and reduce the current reliance on other nations, in particular South Africa.

Baynes ESIA

The ESIA will provide decision-makers and stakeholders with a comprehensive evaluation of the impacts of the proposed Baynes HPP on the natural and human environments, taking into account their local, regional, national and international importance. This has been done through a combination of scientific studies and stakeholder consultation. The ESIA has involved extensive public participation, especially amongst the directly affected communities in the project area that will enable the relevant government agencies, parastatals, NGOs, the interested public in Angola and Namibia, the opportunity to voice their concerns, opinions and ideas with respect to the project.

In parallel with the ESIA, a techno/economic study has been conducted by a Brazilian consortium of engineers. The ESIA and techno/economic teams are independent of each other, but both studies have collaborated closely so that the respective studies are coherent and consistent, thus enabling objective decision-making by the two Governments.

Purpose of this web-site

The purpose of this web-site is to keep stakeholders updated on the Baynes ESIA progress; to allow stakeholders to access information on the ESIA process; and to provide the contact details of the ESIA project management team.

EIA progress update

Phase 1 - Scoping is complete and the Scoping Report was approved by the PJTC in October 2009. ERM is currently finalising Phase 2 of the ESIA.

A public feedback meeting on Phase 2 with interested and affected parties will take place in Windhoek on the 25 February 2013.

In Angola, the public feedback meetings will take place in Namibe and Luanda on 4 and 6 March 2013, respectively.

Downloads Available

The following Project documents are currently available to be downloaded:

  • Background Information Document (BID) - provides information for stakeholders on the Baynes ESIA;
  • Public Consultation and Disclosure Plan (PCDP) - outlines the approach to and programme for public consultation and disclosure for the Baynes HPPt; and
  • Phase 1 - Scoping Report - approved by the PJTC.
  • Non-Technical Summary of the ESIA.

The draft final ESIA will be uploaded to this website, for comment, following the public meetings and a final review by third-party reviewers (SAIEA).

A public feedback meeting on Phase 2 with interested and affected parties was held in Windhoek on 25 February 2013. The presentation from this meeting is available for download.