Hydropower projects in the pipeline will nearly double Africa’s installed capacity by 2037, as Africa looks to dams for green power, water supply and agriculture.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania | BIRD AGENCY | Several African countries are ramping up the construction of new hydroelectric projects and expanding the capacity of old plants to tap into the world’s largest source of renewable energy, hydropower.
According to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), planned and ongoing hydropower projects across Africa in the 2022-2037 period will realise 60.8 gigawatts (GW) once complete, nearly double the current 34.3 GW installed capacity.
The report dubbed, The changing role of hydropower: Challenges and opportunities, shows that Ethiopia will account for 25 per cent of the total pipeline capacity, reflecting the output of the ongoing construction of the biggest hydropower project in Africa, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
DR Congo will follow it at a capacity of 11%, Nigeria at 9%, and Zambia, Mozambique, and Tanzania will each contribute 6%.
South Sudan and Angola will each contribute 5%, while Cameroon and Uganda will contribute 3% of the projected capacity.
Tanzania’s 6% capacity will be boosted mainly by the nearly US$3 billion Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric Power Project, expected to generate 2,115 megawatts (MW) when complete in 2025.
In December 2022, Tanzania’s President, Samia Suluhu, officiated the opening of the diversion channel that will direct water into the dam to generate electricity.
In collaboration with Zimbabwe, Zambia is also expediting the development plans of the proposed US$4.5 billion joint project, Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station, on the Zambezi River.
The project, with a capacity of 2400MW, is expected to provide about a third of the two nations’ power needs.
Liberia, though not listed among those contributing a significant share of pipeline projects, is also expanding the capacity of its only hydropower project- and possibly developing a second plant.
Through an executive order dated February 16th 2023, Liberian President George Weah directed full governmental support towards expansion of the Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant (MCHPP).
The expansion will add 44MW hydropower capacity, including supplying and installing two turbines with a maximum capacity of 20.5MW.
Mount Coffee Hydropower plant has a current maximum installed capacity of 88 MW.
A feasibility study into a second 150 MW hydropower project, St Paul River, is being conducted by the World Bank.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), in its report, Climate Impacts on African Hydropower, shows that renewable energy accounts for 17% of electricity generation in Africa and projects the share to rise by 6% per cent by 2040.
“This share may potentially increase to more than 23% by 2040, as part of the ongoing effort towards clean energy transition and universal energy access in Africa,” said IEA
According to the report, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, and Zambia, have exceeded 80% share of hydropower in their energy mix.
SOURCE: Conrad Onyango, bird, story agency