Angola may buy as much as 5,000 megawatts from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo’s proposed $14 billion hydropower plant.
In its current design, the Inga III dam would be the biggest hydropower plant in Africa, generating 11,050 megawatts. The two partners developing the project — one Chinese, one Spanish — submitted a joint proposal to the Congolese government in November last year, but President Felix Tshisekedi, who assumed office in January, has yet to approve the bid.
Angola will require electricity generated by the Inga III dam from 2025, and will purchase it on condition the fee doesn’t exceed $30 per megawatt hour, according to a letter sent by the nation’s Energy Ministry to Congolese authorities and seen by Bloomberg.
Advocacy groups have questioned the Inga III project, saying most of the electricity generated by the dam won’t benefit ordinary Congolese. South Africa in 2013 committed to purchasing 2,500 megawatts and late last year indicated it might double that amount.
Congo will reserve 6,000 megawatts for its domestic needs and Angola’s expression of interest doesn’t reflect any commitment from the Congolese side, Patrick Kabuya, head of communications for the Agency for the Development and Promotion of the Grand Inga Project, said on his Twitter account. The ADPI falls under the authority of Congo’s presidency.
Inga III is part of a long-delayed plan known as Grand Inga that’s eventually intended to harness as much as 40,000 megawatts of power, almost double the amount generated by China’s Three Gorges dam, currently the world’s biggest.
Angolan and Congolese officials are already working on plans to export 100 megawatts of power from the existing Inga I and II facilities to Angola’s Cabinda province, a spokeswoman for Angola’s Energy Ministry said in a WhatsApp message. She said she wasn’t aware of the letter. Angola’s government spokesman was unavailable for comment.