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Hydropower still the backbone of Angola’s energy sector

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The Chiumbe Falls (also known as the Dala Falls) between Luena, the capital of the Moxico Province, and Saurimo, the capital city of the Lunda Sul Province in Angola. Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Hydropower still the backbone of Angola’s energy sector

Angola’s current energy mix is made up of 68% hydropower, 31.3% fossil fuels and the rest hybrid systems of solar and fossil fuels.

During the recent WhyAfrica Road Trip through Namibia, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Botswana and South Africa, we paid a short visit to the Chiumbe Falls (also known as the Dala Falls) between Luena, the capital of the Moxico Province, and Saurimo, the capital city of the Lunda Sul Province in Angola.

The falls is not only an impressive tourist attraction but is also the location of the Chiumbe-Dala Hydroelectric Power Plant that provides parts of the Moxico Province and the Lunda Sul Province with electricity.

The energy sector is one of the focus areas that the government of Angola has targeted in their drive to build the economy and hydropower plays a pivotal role in their plans. There are several rivers in Angola that lends itself to hydropower generation, the Chiumbe River being one.

The Chiumbe Falls is near the town of Dala, next to the bridge that connects the Lunda Sol Road to the Moxico province. The falls plunges about 60m over impressive rock formations into the Chiumbe River. Old and faded sign boards indicate that Chinese company Synohydro was the main contractor that implemented the project.

In 2014 China Eximbank signed a USD112-million loan agreement with the Government of Angola for the development of the 12.45MW Chiumbe-Dala Hydroelectric Power Plant and 110kV Luena Transmission Lines and Substations Project.

Construction of the hydroelectric power plant started in 2014 and finished three years later, while the 110kV Luena Transmission Lines and Substations project component was completed in May 2018. Although supply can be intermittent, the power station provides the towns of Luena, Dala and Saurimo with electricity.

Energy key to diversify economy (Hydropower still the backbone of Angola’s energy sector)

Electric power is a key component of the government’s plan to diversify the economy and to meet the increasing demand of a growing population. The government has set out to achieve 9.9GW of installed generation capacity and 60% electrification rate by 2025.

According to the American Department of International Trade Angola’s current installed capacity is estimated at 5.6 GW but only 4.5 GW is available.

The country’s current energy mix consists of 68% hydropower, 31.3% other fossil fuels and 0.7 hybrid (solar/fossil fuel).  However, the Ministry of Energy and Water (MINEA) expects to reach 6.3 GW of generation capacity once the Soyo combined cycle gas plant (750 MW), and the Laúca hydroelectric project (2.1 GW) come fully online.

External financing and private development are key (Hydropower still the backbone of Angola’s energy sector)

Several hydro and solar projects are also being developed and expected to come online over the next two to five years.  However, for these and future projects, external financing and private project development will continue to be key, especially given recent government budget restraints and Angola’s recent emergence from the economic downturn.

Current electrification rates are estimated at 42.8% in most cities and less than 10% in rural areas.  As a result, both businesses and residents rely heavily on diesel generators for power.

Mapping studies completed by the Angola Ministry of Energy and Water identified potential for 16.3 GW solar power, 3.9 GW wind power, and 18 GW in hydropower throughout the country.  To address rural demand, the government is pursuing the development of small-scale off-grid projects, using both fossil fuels and renewable technologies (small hydro, solar, wind, and biomass).

The Angolan Government is showing a greater appetite for projects that can bring a holistic solution, especially to areas were the national transmission network is not accessible, having already signed some agreements for these types of projects.

Click on the click to have a look at the Chiumbe Falls on the WhyAfrica YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFuOaQ3FNc4

Remember, one of the many benefits of being a WhyAfrica member, is a free copy of our detailed, in-depth analysis and report about the countries that we visit during our WhyAfrica Road Trips through Africa.

If you are a member, you also get regular updates on the WhyAfrica member’s chatgroup about the Road Trips and news about Africa and the natural resources of Africa. To sign up as a member use this link : https://www.whyafrica.co.za/product/membership/

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Hydropower still the backbone of Angola’s energy sector

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Hydropower still the backbone of Angola’s energy sector

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