The African Development Bank-managed Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) (www.AfDB.org/SEFA) has approved a $9.72 million grant to scale up the Africa Hydropower Modernisation Programme (AHMP), a one-stop shop that overhauls African hydropower systems to enhance their reliability and flexibility.
With this new funding, AHMP will expand the modernisation of a pipeline of 12 private-sector-led projects in 8 countries selected through a competitive process. The physical works and preparation activities will lead to an additional 570 MW of available capacity at an estimated $1 billion investment, including from the private sector. They will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,700 kilotons of CO2 equivalent per year. The grant was approved on 21 November 2023.
The projects include the upgrade of the cooling water system for Sudan’s 280 MW Roseires plant to reduce forced outages and the replacement of electromechanical equipment older than 60 years at the 7 MW Lubilanji 1 plant in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
João Duarte Cunha, African Development Bank Division Manager for Renewable Energy and SEFA Manager, said that “About half of Africa’s hydropower assets are over 30 years old and ageing fast; modernising them with the latest electro-mechanical and digital technologies is the fastest and cheapest way to increase clean energy capacity and enhance system flexibility needed to accelerate energy transition efforts”.
The project fully aligns with the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, which aims to provide universal access to energy for Africans, prioritising low-carbon technologies that harness the continent’s hydro, solar, geothermal, and wind resources. Modern hydropower plays a key role in Africa’s energy transition by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and anchoring larger shares of variable renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
The African Development Bank Group established AHMP in 2021, with a $1 million grant from SEFA to increase low-cost, low-impact installed capacity, enhance African power systems’ reliability and flexibility, and support hybridisation solutions such as floating solar PV. The programme is anchored in a partnership with the International Hydropower Association (IHA) (www.Hydropower.org/), which has recently mapped continent-wide modernisation needs and opportunities of the current hydropower fleet.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
African Development Bank Group
João Duarte Cunha
Manager of the Renewable Energy Funds Division in charge of SEFA
SEFA is a multi-donor Special Fund that provides catalytic finance to unlock private sector investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. SEFA offers technical assistance and concessional finance instruments to remove market barriers, build a more robust pipeline of projects, and improve the risk-return profile of individual investments. SEFA’s overarching goal is to contribute to universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services for all in Africa, in line with the New Deal on Energy for Africa and Sustainable Development Goal 7.