AfDB to spend $1m on modernising Africa’s aging hydropower stations

FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are pictured in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, September 16, 2016. Picture taken September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo - RC196B9DEF90

The Sustainable Energy Fund Africa (SEFA) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a one-million-dollar grant the modernisation of Africa’s aging hydropower fleet.

According to a statement the AfDB, the modernisation of hydropower stations is an opportunity to increase generation capacity at low-cost, and with relatively short lead-times and minimal environmental impact.

It said the grant would also fund the mapping and evaluation of African hydropower facilities’ rehabilitation needs. 

It would also support the preparation of modernisation works two pilot facilities to a bankable stage.

The statement added that the move was expected to add 200 megawatts generation capacity, create 150 jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 300 kilotons of carbon dioxide annually. 

It noted that modern hydropower played a key role Africa’s energy transition, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and anchoring larger shares of variable renewable energy sources. 

The statement  quoted Dr Daniel Schroth, AfDB’s Director Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, as saying : “This transformative programme under SEFA’s Green Baseload component will specifically capitalise on the significant market opportunity the rehabilitation of Africa’s existing hydropower plants,”. 

The AfDB manages SEFA and the project is fully aligned with the bank’s New Deal on Energy Africa, which aims to universal access to energy Africans and prioritises low-carbon technologies that harnesses the continent’s hydro, solar, geothermal and wind resources.

The programme would be implemented partnership with the International Hydropower Association (IHA). 

Mr Alex Campbell, IHA’s Head of Research and Policy said: “We are delighted to support the African Development Bank this important and urgent project to modernise Africa’s hydropower fleet.” (NAN)