Poyry maps small hydro potential in 14 African countries

Poyry has mapped the small hydro potential in 14 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), working in conjunction with the ECOWAS Observatory for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.

In this report, small hydro is considered to have an installed capacity of 1 MW to 30 MW.

Key findings of this work include:

  • Nigeria has the highest theoretical hydropower potential of the 14 countries studied
  • Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia show a high potential for small hydro, while Mali and Niger are unsuitable for small projects
  • In most parts of West Africa, no significant change is projected in future mean annual discharge per climate change projections, but there are regional variations

Poyry used GIS technology to map the hydrological conditions, hydropower potential and climate change information for more than 500,000 river reaches. Stakeholders in each country will use the data to identify and implement vital hydropower projects, according to a press release. Strategic development of the countries’ hydropower resources “has been constrained by economic conditions but also by the lack of information on river flow, river topography and hydropower potential.”

The region “seeks to develop reliable and sustainable long-term solutions to the energy challenge” but the small hydro potential in West Africa has not been known or exploited. Only about 50 hydro plants are operational in the region, Poyry says.

Martin Fuchs, Section Head Hydro Consulting with Poyry, says the work “resulted in a valuable product that is accessible to all stakeholders in the hydropower development process. It is an important source of information for hydropower master planning at the national level and will support potential investors in decision-making, investment planning and risk management.”

Poyry is an international consulting and engineering company that delivers solutions across power generation, transmission and distribution, forest industry, chemicals and biorefining, mining and metals, transportation, and water.

For more information on the results, click here.

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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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