Republic of Congo - Moving forward with hydropower

The Republic of Congo is the fourth largest oil producer in the Gulf of Guinea.

The economy is a mixture of village farming, hun­ting and handi­crafts, whereas the industry is based largely on petroleum. Also a large untapped mineral wealth is to be found.

View on Congo River from the surge tank of HPP Djoué

International organizations, notably the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, support economic reforms. Privatization and renewing cooperation with international financial institutions are slowly progressing.

The privatization of the national utilities for water and electricity plays an important role in the process of establishing regulatory agencies within these sectors. Objectives are a transparent regulatory framework, effective competition and private participation, favorably aiming towards international investors for new projects.

So far there are only three hydropower plants existing – HPP Imboulou with 120 MW, HPP Moukoukoulou with 74 MW and HPP Djoué with 19 MW but not in operation since 2007. The Republic of Congo has a technically feasible hydropower potential equivalent to 3,942 MW, of which only about 4% has been developed. A big part of it could be developed in the north of the country in the Plateaux region, the Sangha region and Cuvettes and Cuvettes-Ouest. The south of the country also offers opportunities – almost 1,400 MW. The hydropower plant Chollet with about 600 MW is in planning together with the government of Cameroon. A feasibility study for HPP Sounda (with different scenarios from 600 MW to 1200 MW) is underway. Studies for new greenfield projects HPP Murala (150 MW), Kouembali (150 MW) and Loufoulakari (50 MW) will also start in 2017.

HPP Djoué

ANDRITZ HYDRO 

With the prospect of the opening of the country to private investors and opportunities to develop numerous hydropower plants, ANDRITZ HYDRO has decided to establish a permanent office in the capital Brazzaville. This office allows better contact with local government and institutions and is a stepping stone to this interesting hydropower market, together with wider regional perspectives from countries within the Economic Community of Central African States (CEMAC and CEAC).

HPP Djoué

In March 2013, the Délégation Générale aux Grands Travaux (DGGT) – a national construction commission created to oversee development of Congo’s energy infrastructure – awarded ANDRITZ HYDRO a contract for the rehabilitation and modernization of HPP Djoué.

Located less than 10 km from the capital, HPP Djoué supplies Brazzaville with electricity and is strategically important for electricity generation in the Republic of Congo. The complex is built on the Djoué River, a tributary of the majestic Congo. The water intake is built inside a gravity dam to retain water for Brazzaville’s electricity demand.

Since its construction in the 1950s, there have been many incidents. The most significant one occurred in April 2007, when the power plant was flooded. It has been out of operation since then.

The scope of supply for ANDRITZ HYDRO included new turbine generator units and hydro- as well as electro-mechanical equipment, a new control room and a completely rehabilitated switchyard. The main objectives were to secure the safety of the facility and to increase the plant’s power output by over 25%. Both units will contribute to the production of clean sustainable electrical energy for the Congolese population and industry.

Machine hall of HPP Djoué

REPUBLIC OF CONGO FACTS

Population 6.62 Mio.
Access to electricity 42 %
Installed hydro capacity 213 MW
Hydro capacity under construction 19 MW
Share of generation from hydropower 90 %
Hydro generation 1,500 GWh
Technically feasible hydro generation potential      10,000 GWh
 
ANDRITZ HYDRO
Installed capacity   32 MW
Installed units 2
Fleet share 15.02 %
  
The World Bank, IEA, World Energy Outlook, Hydropower & Dams World Atlas 2016

 Author: Manuel Tricard

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