Hydroelectricity to become priority for public investment in Angola

23 May 2011

Luanda, Angola, 23 May – The Angolan government plans to make hydroelectricity a priority under the terms of its public investment programme for the next six years, in order to provide the country with a greater and more efficient electricity production capacity, and anticipating future consumption, according to the Africa monitor newsletter.

Africa Monitor, which cites a study by the Angolan government, said that the State would be responsible for building large dams and that this would cost US$20 billion by 2017, and would be paid by a fund fed by oil revenues.

Investment will also be focused on transmission and distribution systems, said Africa Monitor (http://www.africamonitor.net), which added that private investment was also expected, particularly to build and manage mini hydroelectric plants.

Amongst the projects outlined by the Ministry for Energy and Water, after conclusion of the Capanda hydroelectric facility (Malanje province) are Lahuca, the installed capacity of which is 2,000 megawatts and Caculo Cabassa.

Installation of the Cambambe dam will also make it possible to install a second plant at this facility, which will have 4 groups of generators producing 80 megawatts of electricity each.

The Gove hydroelectric dam, in Angola’s Huambo province, and the Matala dam will also be repaired to supply electricity to their regions as well as to the province of Bié and some parts of Benguela province, the Minister for Energy and Water, Emanuela Vieira Lopes said recently.

According to national Angolan electricity company, ENE, another hyrdoelectric facility due to be built is the Manbubas dam, in Bengo province, which will start operating in July. The production capacity of the Matala dam, near the city of Lubango is also due to be increased from 26 to 40 megawatts.

A thermal power plant is also under construction in Zaire province, which is designed to have an installed capacity of 400 megawatts.

This year, the government plans to increase the country’s electricity generation capacity, which is expected to meet most of the country’s needs, but investments will continue.

According to Africa Monitor, electricity production is still considered lacking, unreliable and produced at high cost, particularly that produced using diesel or gas generators, which ensure the public supply of electricity in the main cities.

In the case of Luanda, thousands of generators currently make up for a lack of electricity supply from the Cambambe and Capanda dams, also powering public lighting systems.

The country’s water resources, notably the Kwanza basin, make it possible to produce cheap and abundant amounts of electricity that would be able to meet domestic consumption needs.

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. (macauhub)