UPDATE – Angola Cabinet approves rehabilitation of 60-MW Gove

Angola’s Cabinet gave approval August 2 to a US$158 million investment in a 20-month project to rehabilitate Gove Dam and construct a new 60-MW hydroelectric plant on the Cunene River.

Brazilian construction company Odebrecht is set to rebuild and power up the dam, raising hopes that foreign investment will boost an electricity industry battered by civil war. Work is expected to begin before the end of the year. (HNN 7/31/07)

Angola Press said Huambo Province Energy and Water Director Adolfo Elias Gomes reported all necessary conditions have been fulfilled to begin construction, with start of work awaiting delivery of technical equipment from Luanda.

Gomes said Odebrecht’s contract for the project includes a powerhouse with three 20-MW turbine-generators, substations, and transmission lines to enable Gove to provide power to Huambo, Bie, and Benguela provinces.

“In colonial times, Huambo was the third most industrialized city in Angola — after Luanda and Benguela — and was on its way to becoming second,” Chairman Joao Baptista Borges of Luanda’s state electricity supplier EDEL said. “But now, industries there are limited to micro or small ventures. The construction of Gove and the electrification of Bie and Huambo will help the reconstruction of industry there.”

Borges said in March that demand for electricity in Luanda had jumped 22 percent in the last year and was expected to double in the next five years.

Gove Dam was built in the 1970s, 120 kilometers south of Huambo, to regulate river flows downstream to 40-MW Matala and 249-MW Ruacana hydro projects and to Calueque Dam, an irrigation and water transfer facility. Its construction eventually was abandoned due to armed conflict that damaged the structure.

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