By John Ikani
African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) has approved a $m grant for the modernization of Africa’s ageing hydropower fleet.
The grant – according to a statement released on AfDB’s website – will fund the mapping and evaluation of African hydropower facilities’ rehabilitation needs.
It will also support the preparation of modernization works for two pilot facilities to a bankable stage, a move expected to add 200MW in generation capacity, create 150 jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 300 kilotons of CO2 annually.
The modernization of hydropower stations is an opportunity to increase generation capacity at low-cost, and with relatively short lead times and minimal environmental impact.
Modern hydropower plays a key role for Africa’s energy transition, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and anchoring larger shares of Variable Renewable Energy sources.
This transformative program under SEFA’s Green Baseload component will specifically capitalize on the significant market opportunity for rehabilitation of Africa’s existing hydropower plants, said Dr Daniel Schroth, Acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at the AfDB.
The AfDB manages SEFA. 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 prioritizes low-carbon technologies that harness the continent’s hydro, solar, geothermal and wind resources.
The program will be implemented in partnership with the International Hydropower Association, which has participated in similar initiatives in Asia and South America. 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 modernize Africa’s hydropower fleet.”