Tag Archive for 'congo river'

Congo-Kinshasa: Inga III – the Giant Is Awakening

Photo retrieved from: www.earthzine.org

“Within slightly more than two years, construction work for a third dam and hydropower station should start at the Inga falls on the Congo river in the Bas-Congo province, about 230 km downstream of Kinshasa.

At least that is the Congolese government’s intention, expressed on the 17 and 18 May at a Paris conference attended by a number of potential financiers. These included the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).

According to the Congolese Minister of Water Resources and Electricity, Bruno Kapandji Kalala, construction works will take approximately six years. The project, the total cost of which is estimated by the AfDB at US $12 billion, would generate 4800 MW – more than half (2500 MW) of which will be sold to South Africa.

Inga III, which is the first phase of the far more ambitious Grand Inga project, is one of the New Economic Partnership for African Development’s (NEPAD) flagship projects. It will involve huge works. First of all, part of the flow will be diverted upstream of the existing Inga I (351 MW) and Inga II dams (1424 MW) to a presently dry valley which runs parallel to the Congo riverbed. Further phases would involve the construction of a dam which would entirely bar the course of the Congo River and divert most of the flow towards the Bundi valley and Inga III, whose 100 meter-high wall would enable the production of more electricity by additional turbines, up to 39,000 MW.”

Read more: All Africa


DRC Short-Circuits Power Supply

Photo retrieved from: www.mg.co.za

“The government now wants to develop the Inga III dam on the river, which will produce somewhere between 4000MW and 5000MW of electricity a year.

But the intentions of the DRC go well beyond this. Over time, it wants to develop the Grand Inga Dam project, which will provide 40000MW of electricity at a staggering cost of $80-billion to $100-billion. The dam will be twice as large as the Three Gorges Dam in China – the world’s largest in terms of electricity production.

The World Bank estimates that the Congo River, if properly used, could generate up to 100 000MW of electricity a year – enough to supply the entire Africa for decades to come.

When South Africa began running out of electricity from its ageing thermal plants at the beginning of this century, a new project, Westcor, was established in 2003 to bring the DRC’s vast hydroelectric resources to an increasingly energy-starved Southern Africa.”

Read more: Mail & Guardian

How the Global 1% Shape the World’s Development Agenda

G20 party. Retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“The infrastructure sector is a key example for the G20’s powerful role behind the scenes. The group has commissioned a high-level panel of experts to prepare recommendations on future infrastructure investment in Southern countries. This panel brings together 17 leading representatives of large corporations, banks and government agencies. Civil society groups and trade unions are absent from its roster. The panel has just submitted its recommendations to the G20’s heads of state, who will convene for their annual meeting in Cannes/France next week. The new report illustrates what is wrong with delegating extensive powers to an exclusive body like the G20:

  • Public interest ignored: In its early announcements, the high-level panel narrowly focused on the promotion of economic growth, at the exclusion of poverty reduction, environmental protection, and human rights. In its new report, the panel will recommend six criteria according to which the World Bank and other funders should prioritize their future projects. As the Boell Foundation reports, these criteria include issues such as regional integration and attractiveness for the private sector. They are silent on poverty reduction, protection of the environment and even climate change.
  • Big is beautiful: The high-level panel was asked to identify a number of projects which exemplify the new approach to infrastructure development. Early on, this list included a transmission line between Ethiopia and Kenya and the Inga hydropower scheme on the Congo River. The transmission line will depend on the completion of the controversial Gibe III Dam on the Omo River, which violates numerous international agreements and will impoverish up to 500,000 indigenous people. The Inga dams will cost billions of dollars and will generate electricity for aluminum smelters and far-away urban centers, but will ignore the needs of Africa’s rural poor. The first two stages of the hydropower scheme have turned out to be white elephants and monuments of corruption. Scientists have warnedthat the proposed new dams may have “truly alarming” impacts on the capacity of the Atlantic Ocean to absorb greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.”

Read more: International Rivers


Congolese Ignore Cholera Warnings

Photo retrieved from: www.france24.com

“In any case, said Keto, he was not worried: he had drunk the river water and still felt fine. And in any case, he added, he had never heard of water making you sick.

Keto lives on one of the islets along the river Congo, a stone’s throw away from Kinshasa’s port of Ngamanzo.

Like a lot of other local people who don’t have running water in their homes, he uses the river not just for drinking water but for cooking and the laundry.

And in the the absence of decent sanitary facilities, the river also serves as a toilet, which only increases the health hazards.

The country’s latest cholera outbreak began in the northeastern province of Province Orientale in March, spreading west to Bandundu before reaching Equateur and Kinshasa.

Or to put it another way, it followed the course of the Congo river.

According to the latest official toll, the outbreak has already killed 279 people out of the 4,062 cases detected across the country.

The Ngamanzo dispensary recorded its first case in mid-June and has since recorded 15 cases in all, including a 35-year-old woman who succumbed to the disease.”

Read more: ioL News


Presidents of SA and the Democratic Republic of Congo engaging “aggressively” on Inga hydroelectric project

Photo retrieved from: www.afronline.org

“The Grand Inga project has the potential to be the largest hydroelectric project in the world, dwarfing even the Three Gorges dam in China, and could make a significant contribution not only to addressing SA’s energy needs but also to providing millions of people in other countries with access to electricity.

It has the capacity to generate 40000MW of electricity — more than SA’s current generation.

The South African government’s integrated resource plan makes provision for imported hydro power, and Ms Peters said during a panel discussion during the World Economic Forum on Africa that the quantity imported could be amended if circumstances changed.

However, development of the $80bn Grand Inga project has been hamstrung for many years by a lack of finance, and by political risk and instability . But the World Bank, the African Development Bank and other investors have expressed interest in investing in the project.

Currently, the two dams on the Inga Falls — the largest in the world, situated about 140km outside Kinshasa — operate at a low output of about 1000MW.

Ms Peters indicated that work was being undertaken by the government and scientists on clean coal technologies to reduce the carbon emissions from SA’s coal-fired power stations, which provide the bulk of the country’s electricity.”

Read more: Business Day

Congo’s Energy Divide

Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“The Democratic Republic of Congo is rebuilding its power grid as part of the war-torn country’s reconstruction. Originally built to power copper mines, the grid reaches just 6% of the nation’s people and bypasses some of its biggest cities. Rather than improve its citizens’ access to electricity, the government plans to provide electricity from the rehabilitated power grid and new dam projects for mining and exports to South Africa and other countries. The rehabilitation’s slow pace, ballooning costs and emphasis on energy exports raise serious concerns that it will only perpetuate Congo’s great energy divide.

The Congo River is the deepest river in the world, and one of the most powerful. It has long been targeted by hydropower developers, particularly at the Inga Rapids. In the years following independence, the Inga 1 Dam (350 megawatts, commissioned in 1972) and the Inga 2 Dam (1,750 MW, commissioned in 1982) were built despite feasibility studies that found both projects uneconomical and far in excess of the country’s electricity needs at the time. Neglect, financial mismanagement, and years of war caused the dams’ turbines to deteriorate long before the end of their expected lifespan. By 2002, the dams were producing only 40% of their capacity.

he related transmission line, which runs for 1,725 kilometers, was the single largest contributor to the DR Congo’s debt burden. Budgeted at US$250 million, actual construction costs for the Inga-Kolwezi high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line quadrupled to $1 billion. he “state of the art” HVDC technology was meant to deliver large amounts of electricity to copper mines in the faraway Katanga Province, not cities or villages along its route. Within 10 years, poor maintenance, theft, and the ravages of the tropical climate caused the line to deliver less than half the electricity it was designed to carry.”

Read more: International Rivers