Brief: JLA Hydro wins contract for Wau small hydro rehabilitation

DRC map

JLA Hydro announced it has won a UNDP tender to supply and install the hydroelectric equipment to rehabilitate the Wau small hydro power plant in Masisi in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The plant will be equipped with a single 220-kW Pelton turbine with a net head of 78 m, and the electricity produced will power the neighboring communities.

This project is part of a peacebuilding program with the objective of reducing community tensions through the provision of basic social services and improving the livelihoods of local communities, according to a release.

According to a 2017 article on the UNDP Africa website, the Masisi Territory suffers from isolation and has weak basic infrastructure that affects residents’ daily lives. Lack of energy is one of the major obstacles to development in this rural area, hampering job creation and economic opportunities for young people and women. Only 9% of Congolese are on the electric grid.

Yet the country is at the center of an immense hydrographical basin that receives 30% of the annual precipitation of the entire African continent. DRC’s hydro potential is estimated at more than 700 TWh/year, but less than three GW is being exploited.

A micro-hydro power plant on the Wau River in the Masisi was completed in 2017, to supply more than 40,000 people with electricity. The water flows downwards over 100 m to build pressure and fuel two turbines with a total capacity of 350 kW. The plant helped address instability and social tensions by offering income-generating activities to young people and women, increasing basic social services and tackling the rural exodus to the cities.

Part of a recovery and peacebuilding project, it was funded by the Republic of Korea and implemented by UNDP.

JLA Hydro designs and manufactures hydropower equipment with capacities of 1 kW to 500 kW. The company has over a hundred installations spread over five continents.

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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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