Angola to have 21st century power system within four years

5 March 2012

Angola’s power production and distribution capacity is set to increase over the next four years thanks to an investment of US$16.5 billion, which will be in line with a rise in industrial and residential demand.

The investment was the first big announcement by the new Water and Energy Minister, João Baptista Borges, who replaced Emanuela Vieira Lopes, and is expected to increase Angola’s power capacity by 12 percent, according to the latest report from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“The new plans seem to have a strong focus on the areas outlined by the government for industrial development (such as Viana, a suburb of Luanda)” and less on peripheral areas of big cities that have been affected by recent blackouts, the EIU analysts said.

Angola has the biggest rate of use of individual generators in the whole of Africa, given the limitations of the electricity supply in many areas.

In the last few years investments have been made to increase capacity, which will begin to see results this year with the expansion of the Capanda dam, from 45 megawatts to 260 megawatts due to be concluded in July.

The Cambambe hydroelectric facility, in Kwanza Norte province, which was originally built in 1958, began to be refurbished and widened in 2010 and its capacity will be expanded to 700 megawatts following construction of a new power plant and increase in the height of the dam.

The investment in modernising the dam will be made using an oil fund as well as private funding, specifically for construction and exploration of mini hydroelectric dams.

Amongst the projects outlined are Lahuca, the installed capacity of which is 2,000 megawatts, and Caculo Cabassa.

The study noted that greater amounts of electricity, at more competitive prices, could lead to investments in sectors described as consuming large amounts of electricity, such as mines, industry and agri-industry.

The EIU also noted the need for investments in modernisation of the power grid, which dates back to before Angola’s independence in 1975.

According to the Angolan government, US$12 billion of the total investment by 2016 will be used in the system in the north of the country, which covers the provinces of Kwanza Norte, Luanda, Bengo, Malanje, Uíge, Kwanza Sul, and Zaire.

The programme includes repairing and expanding system to that installed capacity can reach 5,000 megawatts in order to ensure a reliable energy supply across the country.

Luanda accounts for 88 percent of Angola’s total power consumption, and the three power plants that serve the capital are not enough to meet demand. (macauhub)