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AfDB to spend $1m on modernising Africa’s aging hydropower stations

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved $1 million grant for the modernisation of Africa’s aging hydropower fleet.

Akinwunmi Adesina
AfDB president, Akinwunmi Adesina

According to a statement from the AfDB, the modernisation of hydropower stations is an opportunity to increase generation capacity at low-cost, and with relatively short lead-times and minimal environmental impact.

It said the grant would also fund the mapping and evaluation of African hydropower facilities’ rehabilitation needs. 

It would also support the preparation of modernisation works for two pilot facilities to a bankable stage.

The statement added that the move was expected to add 200 megawatts in generation capacity, create 150 jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 300 kilotons of carbon dioxide annually. 

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It noted that modern hydropower played a key role in Africa’s energy transition, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and anchoring larger shares of variable renewable energy sources. 

The statement quoted Dr Daniel Schroth, AfDB’s Acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, as saying: “This transformative programme under SEFA’s Green Baseload component will specifically capitalise on the significant market opportunity for the rehabilitation of Africa’s existing hydropower plants.” 

The AfDB manages SEFA and the project is fully aligned with the bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, which aims to provide universal access to energy for Africans and prioritises low-carbon technologies that harnesses the continent’s hydro, solar, geothermal and wind resources.

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The programme would be implemented in partnership with the International Hydropower Association (IHA). 

Mr Alex Campbell, IHA’s Head of Research and Policy, said: “We are delighted to support the African Development Bank in this important and urgent project to modernise Africa’s hydropower fleet.”

By Temitope Ponle 

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