WATER & POWER
SA and Lesotho to build 1 200 MW hydropower plant
By: Brindaveni Naidoo
11th August 2011
South Africa and Lesotho on Thursday signed an implementation
agreement for the second phase of the R15-billion Lesotho Highlands
Water Project (LHWP) and committed to building a hydropower station
with an installed capacity of between 1 000 MW and 1 200 MW.
The hydropower plant would be operational in 2018, and would see some
200 MW supplied for Lesothoï¿½s power needs, with the remaining power
transmitted to South Africa.
South African Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa
told Engineering News Online that Cabinet had approved the project and
that the two countries would now sign a memorandum of understanding
(MoU) under the auspices of South Africaï¿½s Department of Energy.
The Lesotho government also approved the project, and draft agreements
were ready, Lesotho Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki said
in an interview in Maseru.
ï¿½The MoU to be signed between the two countries will not only focus on
hydropower, but will see both countries look at projects on renewable
energy, including solar and wind,ï¿½ he said.
Both Ministers remained confident that the skills needed for the
second phase of the project were available.
ï¿½There is sufficient capacity between both countries, and where or if
necessary we will deploy required skills. But it is key to remember
that we have Eskom coming on board on this project, as well as the
Lesotho power parastatal,ï¿½ Molewa explained.
The LHWP would strengthen regional integration by using water as a
catalyst for socioeconomic development, as well as to advance economic
links with key African partners.
ï¿½The nature of our cooperation is aimed at mutual development of our
countriesï¿½ water sectors as a foundation and a catalyst for modernised
and integrated economies. It embodies the Nepad principles for
development and Africaï¿½s renaissance to eradicate poverty and
Phase two of the LHWP also comprises a water delivery system to
augment the delivery of water to South Africa.
The system comprises the Polihali reservoir on the Senqu river, and a
water conveyance tunnel connecting Polihali reservoir with the Katse
reservoir. It would also see the development of key infrastructure
including access roads to the project sites and camps, as well as
power transmission lines and administrations centers, including social
and environmental projects and programmes.
This phase would also include a pump storage scheme and associated
Edited by: Mariaan Webb
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