The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a one-million-dollar grant for the modernisation of Africa’s aging hydropower fleet.
A statement from the AfDB said that the modernisation of hydropower stations was an opportunity to boost the generation capacity of the stations at low costs, and with relatively short lead-times and minimal environmental impact.
It said the grant would also fund the mapping and evaluation the rehabilitation needs of African hydropower facilities.
It would also support the preparation of modernisation works for two pilot facilities to a bankable stage, it added.
The statement said that the move was expected to add 200 megawatts to the 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 in 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 Acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, as saying: “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.”
The AfDB manages SEFA and the project is fully aligned with the bank’s 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 would be implemented in partnership with the International Hydropower Association (IHA).
In his remarks, Mr Alex Campbell, IHA’s Head of Research and Policy, said: “We are delighted to support the African Development Bank in this important and urgent project to modernise Africa’s hydropower fleet.”