The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

S. African Power Pact With Congo May Boost $80 Billion Hydropower Plan

S. African Power Pact With Congo May Boost $80 Billion Hydropower Plan

South Africa's agreement to buy more than half the power from the first stage of a planned $80 billion hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo may be the catalyst for expansion of the power industry throughout southern Africa, a government official said.

South Africa on March 8 completed an agreement to buy 2,500 megawatts of power from the first phase of the Inga power project, which is based on the Congo River, the world’s biggest by volume after the Amazon. The pact is expected to enable Congo to secure the initial $10 billion in financing required, Ompi Aphane, a deputy director-general in South Africa’s Department of Energy, said in an interview from Johannesburg.

In addition to the agreement with South Africa, mining companies operating in the southern Congolese province of Katanga are expected to buy 2,300 megawatts of power and a transmission network is expected to be built throughout southern Africa to supply a number of countries, including Angola and Namibia, with power and also enable them to trade their own electricity.

“The spinoffs for regional integration and economic growth are very great,” Aphane said on March 8. “Some energy projects that weren’t feasible before will now be so.”

South Africa is trying to increase its electricity supply to help growth in the continent’s largest economy, where power outages in 2008 temporarily shut most of its mines and smelters. The country was among suitors that included BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, that tried and failed to develop a new plant on the Congo River.

World’s Biggest

“One of the biggest realities we’re confronted with is that we cannot continue being reliant on cheap coal,” said Aphane, who helped negotiate the deal. “There are cheaper, cleaner options that need to be opened up.”

The off-take agreement, which may be ratified this year after going through South Africa’s parliament, will allow Congo to secure the funding required for the first stage, which may take as long as seven years to finish, Aphane said.

The plant will be built in seven phases and may ultimately produce 39,800 megawatts, which would make it the world’s biggest hydropower complex, Aphane said. It will be constructed 140 miles (225 kilometers) southwest of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, near the site of two partially functioning plants.

Congo’s Minister of Hydraulic Resources and Electricity Bruno Kapanji declined to comment on the treaty before it’s made public, he said by mobile phone text message.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg

Lead image: Hydroelectric dam via Shutterstock


A biogas plant concept from Weltec Biopower

Europe Versus Renewable Energy?

Tildy Bayar, Contributor Wednesday morning’s 'Regulation and the Marketplace' panel discussion at POWER-GEN Europe in Amsterdam got off to a lively start with a presentation from Randy Mott, president of Polish biogas- and geothermal-bas...
Uzbekistan flag and map

Uzbekistan’s Ambitious Wind Power Target Signals New Energy Politics

Linas Jegelevicius, International Correspondent After rolling out its renewable energy strategy through 2019 in April, the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan has set its sights on ambitious goals: Build three 100-MW solar power plants and generate more than 1 trillion...
Wind turbines

Why It's Time To Get Real About Energy Security

Hannah Smith, Contributor Energy is Europe’s quiet crisis. While the clamour of failing economies, desperate migrants and political clashes grabs the headlines, energy policy is rarely front-page news, but it should be — the statistics are shocking.
Egypt flag

Egypt's Renewable Energy Drive Gains Steam

Andrew Burger, Correspondent There's a lot of action in Egypt's rapidly developing solar and renewable energy market space. Nearly 5 GW worth of solar power development agreements have been signed so far this year, while Egypt 's New and Renewable Ene...


Volume 18, Issue 3


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:



Mastering RETScreen® 4 for Clean Energy Project Analysis

Hands-on modeling class using RETScreen 4. Michael Ross designed this co...


Chile is still considered to be one of the world’s hottest m...

Renewables and Mining Summit and Exhibition

African mining leaders are seriously exploring new energy solutions to s...


US Energy Grid Review Finds Needed Upgrades Would Allow More Solar,...

Yesterday (April 21) the U.S. Department of Energy released the first Qu...

Environmentally friendly solutions for projects

geoAMPS joins the celebration of the worldwide observance of Earth Day o...

California Solar Installations Put 6 Gigawatts of Power Online

That’s according to figures from the California Independent System...


Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now