2,070-MW Lauca hydropower project in Angola expected to begin generation this week

The first of six generator-turbines at the US$4.5 billion 2,070-MW Lauca hydroelectric plant is expected to begin supplying commercial energy to Angola’s public electricity grid on July 21.

According to a report today from Prensa Latina, the plant, which is owned by Angola’s Empresa Nacional de Electrcidade, will begin operating on Friday.

Brazilian firm, Odebrecht, is the civil engineering and electromechanical assembly contractor. In 2015, Obebrecht awarded Andritz a contract to provide six 340-MW Francis turbines, generators and other equipment for the plant. At the time, Andritz said the project was scheduled for commissioning at the end of 2017.

The Lauca facility is the country’s largest hydropower project and should help Angola reach its short- and long-term energy goals to increase the country’s social and economic status.

According to published information, estimates say that of Angola’s 28 million inhabitants, only seven million are connected to the public electricity grid. But, the government expects to double the number of users connected to the grid by 2025. Currently, with an estimated GDP of $102 billion, Angola is the third-largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, following South Africa and Nigeria.

According to information from U.S. Department of Commerce sources, Angola’s Ministry of Energy and Water projects that by the end of 2018, the country’s power generation mix will consist of 64% hydropower, or about 4 GW. This goal should be reached once the 700-MW Cambambe 2 and the 2,070-MW Lauca hydroelectric projects are fully commissioned.

In 2015, HydroWorld.com reported the World Bank committed $512 million to Angola to finance the 700-MW Cambambe 2 project located on the Kwanza River.

Phase 2 of the Cambambe project consists of a 180 MW expansion of the existing plant and the construction of four new turbines.

The Cambambe 2 and Lauca projects are part of a wider plan by the Angolan government to produce a total of 9 GW of energy from hydropower and other energy sources by 2025, which would help the country be able to export electricity to markets in Namibia and South Africa.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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