Grand Inga to power Africa: Hydropower development scenarios to 2035

Published Apr 14, 2014

A new publication investigating the development of Grand Inga and the potential for power trade in Africa.

The vision of harnessing the Congo River's immense flow to generate power for the African continent has existed in the agenda of energy planners and politicians for nearly a century. However after the installations of Inga I in 1972 and Inga II in 1982, progress came to a standstill. Recently though the larger aspirations of Grand Inga seem to be moving forward again. Construction of Inga III low-head is set to commence in 2015 with a projected capacity of 4755 MW, of which 2500 MW are contracted for the South African market. Upon completion, the total capacity of Grand Inga could reach 42 GW. In this paper, we present scenario-driven results of a Sub-Saharan African-focused partial-equilibrium energy model related to the further development of the project. The analysis is presented to show the broad range of possible energy futures related to this project, without taking into deep consideration the admittedly important issues related to governance, environmental impacts or social tensions. Scenarios are developed to assess the energy outlook of the Central African power pool, in which Grand Inga is located, and the exchange of electricity between regions when the project is completed. The project has the potential to cover the increasing needs for power in this power pool and provide electricity exports to other regions; primarily Southern and Western Africa in a high demand scenario and Southern and Northern Africa in a low demand scenario.

First Author: Constantinos Taliotis