SEFA provides $1 million to kick off modernization of Africa’s hydropower fleet

Africa Globe

The African Development Bank Group’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) has approved a $1 million grant for the modernization of Africa’s aging hydropower fleet.

The grant 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 200 MW in generation capacity, create 150 jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 300 kilotons of CO2 annually.

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, the bank said. This program under SEFA’s Green Baseload component will 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 African Development Bank.

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, the bank said.

The African Development Bank 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 (IHA), which has participated in similar initiatives in Asia and South America. “We are delighted to support the African Development Bank in this important and urgent project to modernize Africa’s hydropower fleet,” said Alex Campbell, IHA’s head of research and policy.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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