African Development Bank (AfDB) managed fund, the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (Sefa), has approved a $1-million grant for the modernisation of Africa’s aging hydropower fleet.
The grant will fund the mapping and evaluation of African hydropower facilities’ rehabilitation needs.
It will also support the preparation of modernisation works for two pilot facilities to a bankable stage, a move that is expected to add 200 MW in generation capacity, create 150 jobs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 300 000 t/y, the AfDB states.
It adds that 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.
“Modern hydropower plays a key role for Africa’s energy transition, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and anchoring larger shares of variable renewable energy sources.
“This transformative programme under Sefa’s Green Baseload component will specifically capitalise on the significant market opportunity for the rehabilitation of Africa’s existing hydropower plants,” says AfDB renewable energy and energy acting director Dr Daniel Schroth.
The bank notes that the project is fully aligned with its New Deal on Energy for Africa, which aims to provide universal access to energy for Africans and prioritises low-carbon technologies that harness the continent’s hydro, solar, geothermal and wind resources.
The programme will be implemented in partnership with the International Hydropower Association, which has participated in similar initiatives in Asia and South America.