The African Development Bank (AfDB) is spearheading a $1 billion initiative to upgrade twelve hydropower plants across Africa, a move aimed at addressing the continent’s growing energy demands. The refurbishments will include projects in Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Zambia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The expected outcome is an additional 570 MW in capacity, with the first phase of work slated to commence by June next year. João Cunha, Head of the Renewable Energy Division at AfDB, noted that these upgrades would play a crucial role in accelerating the transition to renewable energy, mitigating the challenges posed by climate change, such as droughts and floods, and increasing electricity access for millions of people on the continent, according to Reuters.
The initiative seeks to overcome longstanding issues of outdated components, insufficient maintenance, and the resultant disrepair of some hydropower plants, some of which were built as far back as the 1950s.
A study commissioned by AfDB in August, conducted by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), identified 21 plants with a combined capacity of 4,600 MW requiring urgent rehabilitation amounting to $2 billion, while an additional 31 plants, totaling 10,000 MW, would necessitate similar efforts in the next decade.