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Further Delays with Inga III Hydroelectric Project – Frost & Sullivan

Government's commitment to attracting foreign investments could turn the tide in favour the Hydroelectric Inga III project, reveals new analysis from Frost & Sullivan.
Dam wall (©iStock). Dam wall (©iStock).

The demand for electrification in Africa is unquestionable and seemingly insurmountable given the current state of energy affairs, reveals  new analysis from Frost & Sullivan – The Hydroelectric Inga III Project of the DRC.

The Hydroelectric Inga III Project of the DRC is a market insight that provides analysis into the opportunities that a new hydroelectric dam in the DRC will provide over the next decade. The study delves deep into the current state of the DRC power industry, offering drivers and restraints of the project, key participants in the project as well as legislative environment and investment opportunities.

Basse Haute (BC) is planned to commence in 2017 and has the capacity to generate 4800 megawatts (MW) of green energy.

“The hydroelectric potential of the Inga site is estimated at 40% of the continent’s total capacity. Should the project gain traction, a multitude of opportunities will present themselves in operations, maintenance and indirect markets like consulting and skills development,” the research points out.

The analysis finds that the government of the DRC will collaborate with several African states, either as off-takers of power or as host countries for transmission lines. “With South Africa’s cabinet having approved the ratification of the treaty, this will allow South Africa to consume 2500 MW of the power from Inga III, while other off-takers will include the capital city of Kinshasa and the mining region.”

“Inga has already been delayed as the selection of a consortium to build the dam is in an unplanned second round of bidding,” said Tilden Hellyer, a research analyst at Frost & Sullivan’s Energy & Power Systems.

“While the cost of Inga III and the associated transmission lines have been budgeted at US$14bn, the amount has been underestimated several times in the past and it is unclear what the true cost might be.”

There are also environmental concerns about the area flooding when the Congo River is channelled, submerging arable land, the resarch highlights. “However, several experts in geology, geotechnology, and sedimentology have been appointed to conduct studies aimed at minimising the environmental impact of the project.”

Under the political and economic conditions, it will take transparent collaborations to improve the chances of Inga coming into fruition, the report indicates.

“Gradually, several development and financial institutions are beginning to contribute finances and expertise to the project. The government of the DRC is aiming to make business in the country more attractive and increase foreign direct investment through various incentive packages.

“The government recognises that public-private partnerships (PPP) are the best way to mobilise private participation. PPP contracts with the government of the DRC are currently open for the dam wall, intake and canal.”

“If the project gathers momentum, it will take 6 years to complete common infrastructure, both direct and indirect markets stand to gain,” observed Hellyer.

“Transmission and distribution networks under the leadership of South Africa will require technical expertise in DRC, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. By connecting the South African Power Pool through transmission makes it easier to collaborate, strengthen relationships and build revenues.

“A private consortium under a concession contract with the DRC will take shape to repair old and construct new transmission lines within the DRC. A similar concession contract will emerge for the power station at the Inga site.”

The research points out that success of the Inga III Basse Haute will open up further opportunities to explore DRC’s hydroelectric power capacity and its potential to truly become Africa’s energy highway.

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