Monday, April 21, 2014

EU shuns African hydro power projects

n°720 - 08/04/2014
EU shuns hydro power projects
The European authorities have turned away from financing dams, leaving the way open for Asian government donors.

An EU-Africa Business Forum roundtable on sustainable energy that served as curtain-raiser for the EU-Africa summit meeting in Brussels on April 2-3 made it abundantly clear hydro power is no longer a priority of theAfrica EU Energy Partnership

The projects backed by European overseas development institutions likeProparcoCDCKfW and the European Investment Bank (EIB) primarily involved solar, wind and geothermic power. The spotlights were on the German firm Mobisol which installed 3,000 solar cell systems in Tanzania and Ghana, and Ormat Technologies which put together finance for Kenya's 110 MW Olkaria 3 geothermic plant. 

No mention was made of any major African hydro power project even though the Africa EU Partnership staged a workshop in Addis Ababa in February that underscored the determination of European financial institutions to help increase Africa's generation capacity by 10,000 MW. The continent's capacity in 2010 was 26, 762 MW in 2010 and it has risen by only 2,000 MW in the past two years. 

The deliberate choice to sideline hydro power appears to stem from growing opposition to big dams that was voiced in the European Parliament in 2011 when a report by British Euro MP Nirj Deva won wide support, including among Socialists and Greens. The EU now turns its back on the hydropower market in developing countries, leaving it to emerging powers like China and India. 

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