All sys­tems go for Inga’s power

Con­struc­tion at the gi­ant project will be­gin in 2016, with the first power ex­pected six years later. R200bn has been bud­geted

CityPress - - Business - MOYAGABO MAAKE moyagabo.maake@city­press.co.za

Now that Cabi­net has rat­i­fied the treaty gov­ern­ing South Africa’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Grand Inga project – bud­geted at R200 bil­lion last year – fo­cus is turn­ing to­wards con­struc­tion and the de­liv­ery of out­put from the hy­dropower project. But if steps are not taken to guard against tech­ni­cal losses (African net­works typ­i­cally lose power due to tech­ni­cal difficulties at power plants), South African con­sumers may end up with less than half the power gen­er­ated from the coun­try’s share of the project.

On Wed­nes­day last week, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and his min­is­ters ap­proved the treaty between Pre­to­ria and Kin­shasa, open­ing the way for the im­port of 2 500MW of ca­pac­ity from the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo (DRC).

Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency Jeff Radebe said the treaty pro­vided a frame­work for power gen­er­a­tion from the first phase of the 40 000MW project (Inga 3). Inga is sit­u­ated on the Congo River’s Inga Falls, about 300km out­side the DRC cap­i­tal.

It also gov­erned the de­liv­ery of this power to the Zam­bian bor­der about 2 800km away.

“The project has the po­ten­tial to sup­ply clean and af­ford­able im­ported hy­dro­elec­tric power to meet the needs of the DRC, South Africa and sur­round­ing coun­tries,” said Radebe.

The treaty would now be tabled in Par­lia­ment, but it was not clear when, said act­ing Cabi­net spokesper­son Phumla Wil­liams.

The depart­ment of en­ergy did not re­spond to ques­tions on the treaty, but Trea­sury’s 2013 Bud­get Re­view said R200 bil­lion had been bud­geted for the project, with fund­ing sources to be dis­cussed once fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies were com­pleted.

The project has the po­ten­tial to sup­ply clean and af­ford­able im­ported hy­dro­elec­tric power

JEFF RADEBE

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