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
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