Work on the 2 067 MW Laúca hydropower station, in Angola’s Kwanza riverbed, has started. The country aims to have the facility commissioned by the end of 2017, says Angolan State-owned power utility Empresa Nacional de Electricidade de Angola (ENE) international relations director Ramos Tony Antonio.
Once operational, the power station will provide about 750 000 Angolans with electricity.
Antonio, who addressed the 2014 Power & Electricity World Africa conference in Johannesburg last month, said the government of Angola awarded a 66- month contract to environmental and engineering consultancy Coba in June 2013 to provide services and equipment for the Laúca hydropower plant.
The Laúca power station will include six Francis turbines, each with an output of 340 MW, as well as generators and additional equipment.
“The Laúca project will be located on a section of the Kwanza river, between the existing Cambambe and Capanda hydropower stations, and forms part of our government’s programme of increasing the country's power generation capacity,” Antonio explained.
According to Coba, the Laúca project will include a 132-m-high roller-compacted concrete dam with a 1 075 m crest length.
“Power will primarily be generated using six generating units in the plant's main powerhouse, while a second powerhouse, with a 65.5 MW unit, is also planned for construction at the foot of the dam,” states Coba.
The contract also includes consortium partner Lahmeyer, which will assist Coba in designing the project, providing technical assistance in contract negotiations and approving equipment design, as well as with inspections, shop assembly and final acceptance.
Lahmeyer will also provide technical assistance with regard to the general coordination of the project, the supervision of civil construction works and the erection of electromechanical equipment.
Additionally, technology group Andritz will supply the electromechanical equipment for the Laúca hydropower plant.
Andritz stated in a media statement, released in February, that the order value for the equipment “lies in the lower three-digit million-euro range. The order will enter into force during 2014 upon fulfilment of all administrative requirements”.
Antonio said that, in terms of Angola’s power supply and demand situation, the country had stored capacity of 2 178 MW/y, while the grid’s availability was 1 938 MW/y, with a maximum electricity system demand of 1 653 MW/y.
“Since 2011, there has been a substantial growth of about 25% a year in electricity consumption in Angola, which is why government has embarked on these various power projects to meet the ever-growing demand,” he stated.
Antonio said that, by the end of 2016, ENE expected to be producing an additional 80 MW of electricity from the Cambambe hydroelectric power station, on the Kwanza river, on the border of the Cuanza Norte and Bengo provinces, in Angola. He added that “the power station’s dam is being raised to enable the additional power to be produced”.
“We also expect that the 700 MW Cambambe hydroelectric Phase 2 will be completed by the end of 2016,” he noted.
World Bank political risk insurance arm the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (Miga) states that the project involves the construction of a second powerhouse with four additional turbine generators, with an additional capacity of 700 MW on the basis of an engineering, procurement and construction contract awarded to Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht.
Miga adds that the Cambambe Phase 2 is part of a larger rehabilitation and expansion programme being undertaken by the government of Angola, under which the country’s generation capacity is set to increase from about 1 500 MW to more than 5 000 MW by 2017.
“As a result of decades of underinvestment into the power sector, Angola suffers from chronic electricity shortages, which are hampering the country’s economic development. A recent government policy document, titled Policy and National Energy Security Strategy, estimated that only 30% of the population has access to the power distribution network,” states Miga.
It adds that the electricity generated from the Cambambe Phase 2 should offer an economic and efficient means of increasing electricity supply.
Moreover, Antonio noted that government was in the early stages of developing the 500 MW Soyo natural gas-fired power station, in the northern Zaire province of Angola.
“The first phase of the project will be completed by the end of 2016 and will consist of four 125 MW units. By the end of 2017, we will add another two
100 MW units to the Soyo power station, which will enable it to generate 700 MW of electricity,” he stated.
Antonio highlighted that Angola was undertaking work to connect the country’s three transmission systems.
“I believe that, by July, the northern and central transmission network will be interconnected, with the southern transmission network to be connected to the other two transmission networks at a later date,” he said.
Further, Antonio said that several transmission projects were also associated with the country’s hydropower projects. ENE will start working on these projects, which are estimated to be completed by the end of 2017, later this year.
“The first three of these hydropower-related networks will be commissioned during 2016, including a 400 kV network line for Cambambe Phase 2 to Catete, which is one of the four communes in the municipality of Icolo e Bengo, in the Luanda province of Angola; a 400 kV network line for Cambambe Phase 2 to Lucala, in the Cuanza Norte province of Angola; and a 220 kV network line for Cambambe Phase 2 to Gabela, in the province of Cuanza Sul, in Angola,” he stated.