Friday, October 12, 2012

Eskom eyes African hydropower, transmission prospects

SA's Eskom is planning on supporting a massive dam boom across the
continent, with apparently no regard for the climate-change risks
these projects will bring. (see for example new research on climate
risks to Zambezi dams, some of which are in the Eskom pipeline:

Eskom eyes African hydropower, transmission prospects

By: Terence Creamer
12th October 2012
Updated 52 minutes ago

South African electricity utility Eskom has finalised a draft African
strategy, which could result it in taking equity as well as
operational positions in generation and transmission projects in the
rest of the continent, with its primary focus being opportunities in
Southern Africa.

CEO Brian Dames says that strategy is currently being canvassed with
government, Eskom�s sole shareholder, and that the utility�s role in
the rest of the continent will be clarified through that process.

However, the board and the executive were of the view that Eskom
should consider playing a direct role in the African electricity
sector, including as an equity participant in projects.

�We have not made any firm decisions around this, [but] hydro provides
unique opportunity for us and we certainly believe that the Mozambican
projects [Mphanda-Nkuwa and Cahora Bassa North Bank], are quite far

Until recently, Eskom has been importing around 1 500 MW from Cahora
Bassa, but supplies have been reduced to around 900 MW, owing to a
technical fault. Work is currently being undertaken to restore imports
to previous levels, but the restoration process is likely to take some
months yet.

Eskom is already active as an operator of the power system for
Senegal, Mauritania and Mali and the generation system in Uganda, but
the future priority areas will probably be within the Southern African
Development Community (SADC).

The SADC offers �significant future opportunities�, particularly in
securing �cleaner forms of energy�, such as in natural gas and

�We also have this vision that you can build all these projects and
connect them with a significant transmission network . . . [and] Eskom
has built up unique capabilities to design transmission networks, to
build them and to operate them in an integrated grid,� Dames explains.

Eskom�s African strategy is emerging as Africa�s heads of State are
moving to support a pipeline of 15 energy projects, with a combined
price tag of $40.5-billion, to foster further economic growth.

The projects form part of the larger Programme for Infrastructure
Development in Africa (Pida) portfolio, which has been assembled under
the New Partnership for Africa�s Development banner and include four
transmission corridors, nine hydropower schemes and two energy

The Pida projects have been earmarked for development between 2012 and

The transmission projects included are the North-South Transmission
link, from Egypt to South Africa, with branches mostly into East
Africa; the Central Corridor, from Angola to South Africa, with branch
lines into Central and West Africa; a North African Transmission
Corridor from Egypt to Morocco, with links through Libya, Tunisia and
Algeria; and the West African Power Transmission Corridor, linking
Ghana to Senegal, with branches.

The nine hydroelectric projects include the Great Millennium
Renaissance Dam, in Ethiopia; the Mphanda-Nkuwa project, in
Mozambique; the Inga hydro projects, in the Democratic Republic of
Congo; the hydropower component of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project
Phase 2; the Sambangalou project, on the Gambia river; the Kaleta II,
in Guinea; the Batoka Gorge project, on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border;
the Ruzizi III project, in Rwanda; and the Rusumo Falls development,
being pursued by Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

The two pipelines listed are the Uganda�Kenya petroleum products
pipeline and the Nigeria�Algeria gas pipeline.

The energy projects have been prioritised in line with an African
Union aspiration to raise energy access across the continent to better
than 60% by 2040.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter

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