Ethiopia leads in hydropower energy production in Africa

The International Hydropower Association’s Status Report 2017 indicates that Ethiopia has the largest hydropower capacity in Africa.

Recently the country inaugurated the world’s largest hydropower plant, at the Gibe river. The Gibe III Hydropower Station has the capacity of generating 1,870 MW placing the country at the top of the continent in hydro-power generation when its other dams are taken into account.

According to the report, Ethiopia’s installed hydropower capacity rose to 4,054 MW from 2,184MW after Gibe III’s completion.

According to the report which came out at the 6th World Hydropower Congress (WHC) held at the UNECA in the middle of the week, South Africa, which added a new power station in 2016, follows Ethiopia with an installed capacity of 3,583 MW. In 2015 they had an installed capacity of 2,251MW which was equal to Sudan’s current capacity. Egypt, the former top hydropower producer on the continent, DR Congo, Zambia, Sudan and Mozambique followed South Africa with an installed capacity of 2,800MW, 2,509MW, 2,392MW, 2,250MW and 2,187MW respectively.

The total installed capacity of the top seven countries is 19,775MW, while the total installed capacity of the continent is 33,624MW.

The report stated that the African region added over three GW of new hydropower capacity in 2016, including commissioning the 1,332 MW Ingula pumped storage project in South Africa. “Ethiopia completed the final eight turbines of its transformative Gibe III project,” it added.

Ethiopia is also the fourth in terms of newly installed hydropower capacity added countries in the world for the 2016. In the 2016 China added 11,740MW to be the most new hydropower project owner, followed by Brazil, Ecuador and Ethiopia by 6,365MW, 1,987MW, 1,870MW respectively.

The 6th World Hydropower Congress (WHC) was held in the presence of top decision makers of state and leaders of multilateral corporations.

Acting Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Executive Secretary, Abdalla Hamdok, called on the continent to come up with strong and coherent policies to promote faster and more inclusive growth through the optimal use of hydropower and other sources of renewable energy.

Hamdok said with more than 600 million people in Africa living without access to electricity and households continuing to rely on traditional biomass for cooking, it was vital for Africa to tap into its vast renewable energy sources.

“With a clear vision coupled with a strong and coherent policy action to promote faster and more inclusive growth, the continent has the potential to take the lead in innovation, technologies and business models that utilize hydropower optimally and efficiently,” he said.

Globally China is on the top in terms of installed hydropower capacity at 331,110MW followed by USA, and Brazil both with a capacity of 102,485MW, and 98,015MW.